What is Ashology

In the United States, when a body is cremated, it is assigned a number in the crematory registry. This number is stamped on a metal disc that is placed in or on the crematory during the cremation.

When the cremation is finished and the remains have been pulverized, they are placed into the container chosen by the family, and that disc goes in with them. That number is also typed on the identification label that’s on the container. If there is a doubt, one can ask to see the register and verify the identity from the number.

The crematory chamber is rectangular. After the cremation the chamber is swept out. More than 99% of what you get back will be your family member.

Most crematory workers are quite careful about what they do, and many states have licensed workers doing this.

Cremation and aquamation ashes

Almost everything except bone is reduced to gasses, and those gasses are burned again. So everything but bone is gone.

The mass and volume of the ashes will mostly relate to the bone structure of the decedent. A person 5′10″ 200 pounds will have about the same skeleton as a 5′10″ man at 165 lbs. But a wrestler at 5′8 and 150 lbs would have larger bone mass, and more cremated remains – ashes. Roughly 7-9 pounds, or 2 liters is a rough estimate.

Storage and dispersal of ashes

Ashes are currently handled in one of four ways:

  • Storage
  • Burial
  • Dispersal over land
  • Dispersal in water bodies

Storage is generally in urns. Some people keep the urn at home. Some people keep the urns in columbariums, namely buildings that rent out niches for urns. Some religions prescribe that the ashes not be stored. Some bury the urns in cemetery. Some disperse it over land areas dear to the departed. However, since ashes contain phosphates, if you directly spread over a small area, it may decrease the fertility of the soil there.