The use of fire to dispose of the dead. This practice is far from being new. Prehistoric people saw fire as a gift from the gods, and using the gift to return the dead to the gods was a common practice as far back as the Stone Age. Even the Bible contains evidence of cremation, in the book of Samuel in regards to Saul:

"and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-Shan, and burnt them there."
Cremation is one of the main methods of disposing of the dead used by Hindus in India. In Central America, a tribe known as the Yanomami have been recorded taking the cremated remains of their dead and mixing it with bananas to make a frothy drink that they then ingest. To them this reassures that they will infact live on, unforgotten. Cremation in the U.S. is becoming more and more popular. In 1884 there were forty-one cremations in the U.S., whereas today there are several hundred thousand a year. One of the reasons for this rise, is the decline in burial space. Another is the alteration of popular beliefs religion wise.

The requirements by crematories for this practice include: a rigid, combustible container for the body. This usually means wood. All electrical devices must be removed from the body prior to cremation, or the lithium batteries could explode. Many states have their own rules for cremating bodies, such as the person must be dead for a minimum of 48 hours prior to cremation. This gives investigators enough time to determine the cause of death.

Incineration of the body and casket of choice occurs at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Natural gas is commonly used to produce such an intense heat, but isn't the only fuel useable. The combustion chamber is lined with fire bricks that can withstand up to 3500 degrees Fahrenheit. Cremation time for bodies incinerated at 1800 degrees is roughly an hour to an hour and a half. This of course depends on the weight of the body. After cremation and bone fragments left are pulverized in a grinding machine to the size of granulated sugar.

The cremains are collected in an urn and sent to the funeral home, or shipped by registered mail. There are no laws regarding the handling and disposal of cremains.