Children sit in front of a tombstone waiting for their relatives at a public cemetery during the Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, in Jinjiang, Fujian province, April 4, 2012. The festival marks a day for the Chinese to remember and honor one’s ancestors. Chinese experts have called for legislative efforts to standardize funeral services, in an attempt to regulate the country’s unscrupulous funeral service providers who siphon huge profits from the relatives of the dead. (China Daily/Reuters)/2012 Year in Pictures: Part I
Almost 20 million people live in the Cairo metropolitan area, and housing is tight, even in the suburbs. In a neighborhood known as al-Arafa, residents have moved into a necropolis dating back to 600 A.D. In this City of the Dead, there is limited electricity and sanitation, and the deceased take up residency among the living.
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Maya Royal Tombs Found With Rare Woman Ruler
A woman ruler’s skeleton—her head mysteriously placed between two bowls—is one of two royal burials recently found at the Maya ruins of Nakum in Guatemala.
The roughly 2,000-year-old tomb was found underneath another, 1,300-year-old tomb filled with treasures such as jade gorgets—normally used to protect the throat—beads, and ceremonial knives.
The upper tomb’s corpse had been badly destroyed by rodents within the last few centuries, but the body was clearly that of another Maya ruler—perhaps another female, based on the small size of a ring found in that tomb.
(See “Bowls of Fingers, Baby Victims, More Found in Maya Tomb.”)
The royal burials are the first discovered in Nakum, once a densely packed Maya center. Study co-author Wiesław Koszkul and colleagues have been investigating Nakum’s surroundings, known as the Cultural Triangle, for decades. (Explore an interactive map of key Maya sites.)
“We think this structure was something like a mausoleum for the royal lineage for at least 400 years,” said Koszkul, of the Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology in Krakow, Poland.
The Maya royal-tomb discoveries are described in the September issue of the journal Antiquity.
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E-Tomb Memorialises the Dead with Social Networking
Memorializing the deceased with Facebook mausoleums may offer some digital consolation to bereaved friends and family, but a new product concept called the ‘E-Tomb’ has taken the idea of post-mortem social networking to an entirely new (and creepily literal) level.
Designed by Huang Jianbo, Zhao Ting, Wang Yushan, Ran Xiangfei and Mo Ran, the E-Tomb sort of looks like a cross between a tombstone and an external hard-drive — and, essentially, that’s what it is. Solar panels at the top of the tombstone power the device’s storage mechanism, which holds all of the blogs, Facebook posts, photos and videos that the grave’s occupant ever posted online.
All this information is accessible via a cross-shaped Bluetooth key on the face of the headstone, allowing friends and family to revisit the deceased’s archived online material from their mobile phones, and post their own personal anecdotes to the hard drive. It may sound strange to bury someone with their archived online history, but, for people who spend just about every waking moment online, it sort of makes sense. Excuse us as we go rewrite our wills.