How to Build a Funeral Pyre

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A funeral pyre is one of the world's oldest cremation traditions. Designed to reduce a grown human being to a few pounds of ashes, it is also a feat of engineering. And in order to ensure a strong, dignified burn, a funeral pyre's construction should be carefully planned. Read on to learn how to build a funeral pyre.

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step1Obtain wood. If you need to cut down full trees, cut them again into rounds. Afterwards, split the rounds into flat
slabs with a maul. Any long pieces of wood are acceptable, however--fence posts or wooden stakes might do just fine.

Step2Oxygen is an all-important factor for a good burn: orient your pyre to face, end-on, into the wind. And if you can, place a metal grate onto the ground, and begin to stack the wood on top of that. This grate will allow for greater air circulation through the pyre, and a faster burn.

Step3Stack the wood in layers, while alternating their orientation layer by layer. This will help to give the pyre stability. Stack anywhere from two to four feet high, and as wide and long as is required for the size of the body.

Step4Add a fuel load of smaller bits of wood in the center of the pyre. Keep the spread of fuel as symmetrical as you can, so that the fire doesn't burn lopsided. A lopsided burn could collapse the pyre prematurely, and perhaps even displace the body.

Step5Add kerosene. This will expedite the burn, and save wood.
Step6Place the body in the center of the pyre. Light a match, and set the pyre alight.