Many theories and explanations exist about why people commonly assume graves are always 6 feet deep, explore the possible origins of this widespread belief. Graves are hand dug if they are on a slope or wedged between headstones or trees, of if the coffin is for a small child. Families often buy a plot with a plan to be buried together in. Most of them are dug nine feet deep to accommodate three stacked coffins.
The six feet under rule for burial may have come from a plague in London in 1665. The Lord Mayor ordered all the "graves shall be at least six feet deep." This was to prevent farmers from accidentally plowing up bodies. Therefore the grave needs to be deep enough to allow not only for depth of the caskets that will be buried but also to accommodate legal requirements of undisturbed earth to be between each coffin.
However, most modern graves in the United States are only 4 feet deep as caskets are placed into a concrete box to prevent sinkhole and floating in the instance of a flood.
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