What Happens When a Cemetery Is Full?

Space is limited in urban areas. Cities are crammed with small apartments that go for a premium. Cemeteries in these urban areas are no different. While death rates continue to remain the same, the land available for burying in cemeteries isn’t growing.

Historically, cemeteries were used for unlimited burials. This was possible because space was available for the expansion of the cemeteries. If the space was not available, bodies were exhumed to create room for more burials. This was especially common before the reformation. The exhumed individuals were re-buried alongside the new burial or were placed in charnel deposits. If the body had not decomposed down to the skeleton, the flesh would be removed in order to make it easier to handle.

Because the available burial land is limited, there comes a time when a cemetery is full. When this happens, cemeteries in Long Island simply close up. When this happens, the cemetery stops receiving new burials. The current burial sites within the cemetery continue to be maintained.

In some cases, the management of the cemetery may opt to open up a new cemetery elsewhere. They will therefore be able to receive more burials at the new site.

There are occasions when burials will be accepted at the closed cemetery. This is when families that have already reserved plots at the cemetery need to bury a loved one. They will be allowed to use their reserved lot for the burial.

It isn’t uncommon to see combined cemeteries today. You will find that numerous parishes or municipalities share a single cemetery. This is done to save money and space.

Samantha Milano 12/10/18