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tomb

tomb

[toom]
tomb, vault or chamber constructed either partly or entirely above ground as a place of interment. Although it is often used as a synonym for grave, the word is derived from the Greek tymbos [burial ground]. It may also designate a memorial shrine erected above a grave. The concept of the tomb as a chamber or dwelling place for the dead is the most widespread. It may have originated in the practice, known in prehistoric times and common among so-called primitive peoples of today, of burying the dead underneath their place of dwelling. Sometimes the survivors continue to live in the house; sometimes they seal and abandon it after a burial. This may account for the recurrence in different periods and places of the domed or conical funeral mounds and chambers (such as the prehistoric barrow, the beehive tomb of Mycenaean civilization, the mausoleum of Persian and Roman royalty, and the stupa of Asia) and of the artificial caves commonly called rock-cut tombs (such as those found in Petra, Jordan; Thebes, Egypt; and in various parts of Asia). When corpses were buried outside the house, the purpose of protecting the body and possibly confining the spirit was often served by heaping stones above the grave. This may have been the initial structure that gave rise to the mastaba and later to the pyramid of Egypt. Such heaps of stones also served as markers or shrines where offerings might be left to the spirits of the dead. Christian tombs, relatively simple at first, had by the Middle Ages become quite splendid. It became the custom to build a church over the grave of a martyr. For centuries, kings and other privileged persons were buried within the church buildings, their graves often surmounted by a little shrine or by a sarcophagus bearing an effigy of the deceased. In Great Britain many important personages have been entombed in Westminster Abbey. Famous funerary structures of modern times include the Taj Mahal, at Agra, India; the Dôme des Invalides, Paris, which contains the tomb of Napoleon; General Grant's tomb, New York City; and the Lenin mausoleum, Moscow. See burial; cemetery; crypt; funeral customs.

Home or house for the dead. The term is applied loosely to all kinds of graves, funerary monuments, and memorials. Prehistoric tomb burial mounds, or barrows (artificial hills of earth and stones piled over the remains), were usually built around a hut containing personal effects for use in the afterlife. Burial mounds were a prominent feature of the Tumulus period in Japan (3rd–6th century); these often spectacular monuments consisted of earthen keyhole-shaped mounds surrounded by moats. Burial mounds, sometimes shaped like animals, were characteristic also of Indian cultures of eastern central North America circa 1000 BCAD 700. With more advanced technology, brick and stone tombs appeared, often of imposing size. In Egypt tombs assumed great importance, especially in the form of pyramids. In medieval Christian thought, the tomb became a symbol of a heavenly home; this concept appeared in the Roman catacombs, whose walls display scenes of paradise. Since the Renaissance, the idea of the tomb as a home has died out in the West, except as a faint reminiscence in the mausoleums or vaults of modern cemeteries. Seealso beehive tomb, cenotaph, mastaba, stele.

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Former U.S. manufacturer of packaged grocery and meat products. It was incorporated in 1922, having developed from the earlier Postum Cereal Co. founded by C.W. Post. It soon began acquiring other companies and products: Jell-O Co. (1925), Swans Down flour and Minute Tapioca Co. (1926), Log Cabin (1927), Maxwell House and Calumet (1928), Birdseye (1929), Sanka coffee (1932), Gaines dog food (1943), Kool-Aid (1953), Burpee seeds (1970), Oscar Mayer & Co. (1981), and Entenmann's bakery products (1982). In 1985 it was bought by Philip Morris Companies Inc.

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For the New York prison see The Tombs.

A Tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. The term generally refers to any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes. The word is used in a broad sense to encompass a number of such types of places of interment or, occasionally, burial, including:

  • Burial vaults – stone or brick-lined underground spaces for interment (rather than burial), originally vaulted, often privately owned for specific family groups; usually beneath a religious building such as a church or in a churchyard or cemetery
  • Church monuments – within a church (or tomb-style chests in a churchyard) may be places of interment, but this is unusual; they more commonly stand over the grave or burial vault rather than containing the actual body and are therefore not tombs
  • Crypts – often, though not always, for interment; similar to burial vaults but usually for more general public interment
  • Martyrium - final resting place for the remains of a martyr or saint, such as San Pietro in Montorio
  • Mausolea (including ancient pyramids in some countries) – external free-standing structures, above ground, acting as both monument and place of interment, usually for individuals or family groups
  • Megalithic tombs (including Chamber tombs) – prehistoric places of interment, often for large communities, constructed of large stones and originally covered with an earthen mound
  • Sarcophagi – stone containers for bodies or coffins, often decorated and perhaps part of a monument; these may stand within religious buildings or greater tombs or mausolea
  • Sepulchres – cavernous, rock-cut or stone-built (often underground) spaces for interment, such as the Tombs of ancient Egypt; however, it is generally used to refer to similar Jewish or Christian structures. Tombs are very strong and help preserve bodies.
  • Architectural shrines – in Christianity, an architectural shrine above a saint's first place of burial, as opposed to a similar shrine on which stands a reliquary or feretory into which the saint's remains have been transferred
  • Other forms of archaeological 'tombs' such as ship burials

As indicated, tombs are generally located in or under religious buildings, such as churches, or in cemeteries or churchyards. However, they may also be found in catacombs, on private land or, in the case of early or pre-historic tombs, in what is today open landscape.

The tomb of Emperor Nintoku (the 16th emperor of Japan) is the largest in the world by area. However, the Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt is the largest by volume.

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