In countries around the world, many communities face a distressing problem: They are running out of graveyard space.
Cremation and traditional funeral rites such as sky burials have made a difference in some countries, but others wrestle with the dilemma: Do you give each person a plot of land for all of eternity or do you leave that land for the living and their descendants to live on or grow food upon? While there are currently nearly 8 billion people alive on earth, the dead still vastly outnumber the living.
When archaeologists uncovered a medieval grave on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue, off the west coast of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, they expected to find the remains of a long-departed human. Instead, they found a properly buried porpoise.
The grave, carefully cut into the rocky soil on a high point of the island overlooking the sea, was constructed with the same techniques used for human graves. It takes up valuable real estate on the small island. So what’s the explanation? At this point, researchers only have theories.