Science – Future of Lithuania / Mokslas – Lietuvos Ateitis, Vol 5, No 3 (2013)

Comparative Study of Christian and Pagan Burial Constructions

Eglė Bazaraitė (ICIST, Instituto de Engenharia de Estruturas)
Teresa Heitor (ICIST, Instituto de Engenharia de Estruturas)


This paper draws a chronological timeline comparing burial customs and construction traditions in the cradle of Christian religion, and pagan traditions on the Eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, precisely Lithuania, since the early ages of Christianity (1c. A.D.) until nowadays. This paper searches for reasons that could have effected cultural transformations, a shifting relation between inhumation and incineration in European culture. In the Ancient Roman culture, people used to cremate their dead before Christianity set in. Baltic pagans at the time were burying their dead in stone circles, and started incineration only during the Middle Ages. Then Christianity was a powerful institution indoctrinating European daily culture. Meanwhile, in the territory of Lithuania pagan culture was erased only in the 15th century, i.e. about 600 years ago, leaving evident vestiges on traditions and customs of nowadays. These revelations of pagan culture are usually mistaken as Christian or Catholic. The paper focuses on architectural and urban aspects of burial architecture, taking into account social and historical conditions.

Article in: English

Article published:

Keyword(s): cemetery; graveyard; funeral; pagan; Christian; inhumation; incineration; cremation

DOI: 10.3846/537

Full Text: PDF pdf

Science – Future of Lithuania / Mokslas – Lietuvos Ateitis ISSN 2029-2341, eISSN 2029-2252
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License.