Not long ago, many burial grounds were lively places, with gardens and crowds of people — and for much of human history, we didn’t bury our dead at all. How did cemeteries become what they are today?








  • spindly – long or tall and thin
  • mourner – a person who attends a funeral, especially as a relative or friend of the dead person
  • to venerate – to honour or very much respect a person or thing
  • transgressor – someone who violates a law or command
  • scavenger – an organism that typically feeds on refuse or carrion (dead and putrefying flesh)
  • mound – a rounded mass projecting above a surface; a pile
  • intact – not damaged in any way; complete
  • to graze – (of cattle, sheep, etc.) to eat grass in a field
  • to lure – to attract actively and strongly
  • the departed – dead


Watch the video again and fill in the gaps. The first letter of each missing word has been given:


1.S ……….. trees, 2. r ……… gates, 3.c …….. stone, a 4. s………. mourner – these things come to mind when we think of cemeteries. But not so long ago, many 5. b ……… grounds were lively places. With 6. b ……… gardens and crowds of people 7. s ……… among the headstones. How did our cemeteries become what they are today? (…) Our 8. a …… ancestors had many other ways of 9. p ……. with the dead loved ones. Some were left in caves, others in trees or on mountaintops. Still others were 10. s …… in lakes, put out to sea, ritually cannibalized, or cremated.


Key: 1.spindly; 2, rusted; 3. crumbling; 4. solitary; 5. burial; 6. blooming; 7. strolling; 8. ancient; 9. parting; 10. sunk


Read the article You-posthumously-light-up-my-life and decide if the sentences below are

True or False?


1. The air in the cemetery of the Innocents in Paris was said to change material colours.

2. The bodies were not decomposing because the people had been too fat before they died.

3. The church was pleased with the King’s order.

4. The author has pasted the original article so as to convince readers he has concocted the whole story.


Key: 1.T; 2F; 3F; 4F



  • Would you prefer to be buried, cremated or …?
  • Why do some cultures mourn death and others celebrate it?
  • Have you ever felt really bad and looked like death warmed up?
  • Have you ever been in an accident in which you nearly died?
  • What’s your view on euthanasia – helping someone else die?




Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!

Restoring Cemeteries and Livelihoods

Kevin Knight is in the cemetery construction business; he’s also in the business of helping veterans reenter civilian life.