Cliffside Burial

Kete Kesu Village, Tana Toraja

One of the traditional burial methods in Tana Toraja is interment within, or at the base of, a cliffside. This method is reserved for the elite, since it is very difficult and labor-intensive to cut these graves out of the cliff face. The coffins are made of wood, and are fashioned in the same boat shape as the traditional Torajan houses. The coffins, that can be seen by visitors today, are filled with disarticulated bones (next pages) that have been gathered together in order to make room for additional burials; space is always at a premium, when each grave has to be laboriously excavated from the rock.