Britain is suffering from a real estate issue for the duly departed, and, in trying to find a solution for the future of the dead and their cremation urns, the country’s funeral services have looked to the past.
Neolithic burial barrows are now opening across the country again, with the third one opening in Shropshire; the Soulton Long Barrow. Made of natural limestone, lime mortar and traditional techniques, the mound allows for the housing of cremation urns, with prices at £750 ($970) for an individual person, and £5,850 ($7,590) for a family. The barrow will house cremation ashes, allowing for a cheaper and more secular alternative, according to its creators.
The first modern barrow was the All Cannings in Wiltshire, which opened in 2014, which was followed two years later by the Willow Row in Cambridgeshire. These Neolithic-inspired structures are the first of their kind to be built in the UK in over 5 and-a-half millennia.
Prices vary based on the mound and the service provider, though they range from £750 ($973) for a single person, up to about £5,850 ($7,590) for a family in need of a niche, or the space that holds their cremation urns, which will be contracted to them for a whole century.
Niches can also be passed down to relatives or dependents within the contract’s duration.
The UK sees a fair amount of burials, with people opting to be cremated and put in urns to save on space. The average price of a plot in a cemetery in the country sits at around £1,000($1,300).
Neolithic barrows are basically fancy earth mounds that were constructed over stone structures, which act as collective tombs, traditionally built for the wealthy and the social elites.
Sacred Stones Managing Director Toby Angel says that the project was undertaken with cooperation with academics from the Cambridge University, in order to understand what they really were and how they were a part of community life in the past.
He describes barrows were a theatre for union, creation, as well as being a sacred space for the veneration of the duly departed. He says that, by constructing these new barrows, they are echoing how the early ancestors of Britain valued community and their departed.