Natural Burial – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If a green burial space for a body cannot be prepared due to practical constraints and the body must be cremated, can cremated remains within a biodegradable container be placed in a green burial plot?
A: Yes, cremated remains within a biodegradable container may be placed in a grave that has been designated for a natural body burial. Additionally, there are several other options at Mount Auburn for interring cremated remains including pouring the cremated remains directly into a shallow hole. In both of cases, the remains will not retrievable.
Q: Why does Mount Auburn require using a lowering device even for a shrouded body when the shroud has been designed with straps that allow a family to lower a body into the grave?
A: Mount Auburn needs to ensure the safety of all visitors. The sides of a grave may “give away” especially when a concrete grave liner is not being used; therefore, by using the lowering device a level of desired safety is achieved.
Q: When my loved one dies, she wants to be wrapped up and buried in her favorite quilt. Is that OK?
A: Yes, that is OK. Please inform Mount Auburn before you arrive so the lowering device can be set up with additional support, like a pine plank, for extra rigidity on the lowering device. The pine plank will end up at the bottom of the natural grave and will be buried with your mother.
Q: When my loved one dies, she wants all of us (her able-bodied adult children) to bring her to the cemetery. Is this permitted?
A: Yes, that is permitted. Family members are allowed to transport the body of a loved one to a cemetery. You can also check the Funeral Consumers Alliance website for more details including on how to fill out paperwork and exactly what paperwork is required. Also, you may contact your local board of health.
I like the idea of a natural burial, but as someone who is keenly interested in genealogy and actively trying to track down my ancestors, I also value the ability of future generations to visit the gravesite and view a memorial. I understand that there is a bit of a contradiction here with respect to a natural burial, and so I’d like to understand the options you mention such as a plaque on a tree, which is not exactly a permanent memorial. Could you provide more details on those options, please?
Does one have to be a resident of Cambridge to be buried(natural or traditional burial) in Mount Auburn Cemetery?
Is it possible to have a green burial for cremated remains?
I wonder what the cost of a green burial is at Mt Auburn? My grandparents parents & aunts are all buried in one spot.