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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.Where do we go when die? For most of us the options are few: be buried or be burned. The expectation of a casket beneath a monument in a cemetery on the outskirts of town was created by decades of belief, politics, and business, as was the recent revival of the ancient practice of cremation. Now the cemeteries established in the 19th century are filling up and the harmful emissions from cremation are a concern. Green burial, human composting, and coral reefs of ashes are all emerging as new designs. Yet these solutions often overlook the indigent and unidentified who frequently are interred in mass graves, not unlike the potter's fields of the colonial era, a fate brought into the public eye during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grave may be a final destination, but it is not the great leveler, and permanency is always a privilege. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.