Following the cremation process, the ashes are transferred into a temporary storage receptacle. The family can then choose whether they wish to scatter the ashes, bury them, or transfer them to a funeral urn.

Funeral urns come in many materials: metal, crystal, wood, ceramic, and so on, and of course they come in many designs. Some of the urns can be closed hermetically in a way that ensures preservation of the ashes during storage or transportation.

Among other possibilities, the funeral urn can be kept in the home; it can be interred in the earth, or it can be stored in a columbarium.

During the Bronze Age, cremation began to spread throughout Europe, a custom that eventually reached the Greeks and Romans as well. During this time, people started to use funeral urns, and the first columbaria were built to store these urns.