More than 2,000 years ago, Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang Di was laid to rest in a tomb guarded by thousands of life-size clay statues of warriors and horse-drawn chariots. Some 1,000 years earlier, the tombs of Chinese emperors were not guarded by clay figures, but by the dead bodies of humans and animals sacrificed for the cause. All over the world, different cultures have conducted an amazing array of intriguing burial practices. On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, infants are buried in trees so that their spirits might rise up through the trunks toward heaven. Egyptian pyramids and mummification practices continue to fascinate archaeologists the world over. And near the Black Sea in the Ukraine, the tombs of the Amazons hold gold treasures of immeasurable worth.
In Bury the Dead, National Geographic senior editor Christopher Sloan conducts a fascinating - and sometimes hair-raising - investigation of how societies around the globe have handled their dead.