Next come the various kinds of inhumation graves, the most important of which are rock-hewn chambers, many of which contain well-preserved paintings of various periods; some show close kinship to archaic Greek art, while others are more recent, and one, the Grotta del Tifone (so called from the typhons, or winged genii of death, represented) in which Latin as well as Etruscan inscriptions appear, belongs perhaps to the middle of the 4th century B.C. Fine sarcophagi from these tombs, some showing traces of painting, are preserved in the municipal museum, and also numerous fine Greek vases, bronzes and other objects.
- Both inhumation and cremation were practised in heathen times.
Inhumation graves are sometimes richly furnished.
Throughout the stone age inhumation appears to have been universal, many of the neolithic tombs being chambers of considerable size and constructed with massive blocks of stone.
In Scandinavian lands the change noted by Icelandic writers may be dated about the 5th and 6th centuries, though inhumation was certainly not altogether unknown before that time.
On the other hand inhumation below the surface of the ground, without perceptible trace of a barrow, seems to have been the most usual practice during the national migration period, both in England and on the continent.
In this last necropolis cremation seems slightly to precede inhumation in date.
The earlier period is characterized by the practice of inhumation in harrows made of clays, stones or sand, according to the district.
This illustrates the early importance of Genoa as a trading port, and the penetration of Greek customs, inhumation being the usual practice of the Ligurians.
But the form of the tombs always remains the same, a small low chamber hewn in the rock, with a rectangular opening about 2 by 22 ft., out of which open other chambers, each with its separate doorway; and inhumation is adopted without exception, whereas in a Greek necropolis a low percentage of cases of 1 Leontini, Megara, Naxos, Syracuse, Zancle are all recorded as sites where the Sicel gave way to the Greek (in regard to Syracuse [q.v.] this has recently been proved to be true), while many other towns remained Sicel longer, among them Abacaenum, Agyrium, Assorus, Centuripae, Cephaloedium, Engyum, Hadranum, Halaesa, Henna, Herbessus, Herbita, Hybla Galeatis, Inessa, Kale Akte, Menaenum, Morgantina.
In these mounds cremation appears more frequently than inhumation; and both are accompanied by implements, weapons and ornaments of stone and bone.
In fact, compliance with the Christian practice of inhumation in the cemeteries sanctioned by the church, was only enforced in Europe by capitularies denouncing the punishment of death on those who persisted in burying their dead after the pagan fashion or in the pagan mounds.
The graves at Hallstatt were partly inhumation partly cremation; they contained swords, daggers, spears, javelins, axes, helmets, bosses and plates of shields and hauberks, brooches, various forms of jewelry, amber and glass beads, many of the objects being decorated with animals and geometrical designs.
Each way, in which inhumation was the rule.
They are all inhumation burials, of the advanced iron age, and date from the 7th to the 4th century B.C., falling into three classes - those without coffin, those with a coffin formed of stone slabs, and those with a coffin formed of tiles.