The ancient world is full of examples of burial customs that seem strange now, from Egyptian mummification to bodies dumped in bogs to departed Vikings launched out on ships-turned-crematoriums. But space constraints and environmental concerns are pushing modern man to explore new options for dealing with the dead.

The most recent of these to land on American shores is a process that uses heat, pressure and chemicals to liquefy a body in just a few hours, leaving behind sterile remains that can be poured into the wastewater system.

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