Tomb is a general term for any repository for human remains, while grave goods are other objects which have been placed within the tomb. Such objects may include the personal possessions of the deceased, objects specially created for the burial, or miniature versions of things believed to be needed in an afterlife. Knowledge of many non-literate cultures is drawn largely from these sources.
A tumulus, mound, kurgan, or long barrow covered important burials in many cultures, and the body may be placed in a sarcophagus, usually of stone, or a coffin, usually of wood. A mausoleum is a building erected mainly as a tomb, taking its name from the Mausoleum of Mausolus at Halicarnassus. Stele is a term for erect stones that are often what are now called gravestones. Ship burials are mostly found in coastal Europe, while chariot burials are found widely across Eurasia. Catacombs, of which the most famous examples are those in Rome and Alexandria, are underground cemeteries connected by tunnelled passages. A large group of burials with traces remaining above ground can be called a necropolis; if there are no such visible structures, it is a grave field. A cenotaph is a memorial without a burial.
The word "funerary" strictly means "of or pertaining to a funeral or burial", but there is a long tradition in English of applying it not only to the practices and artefacts directly associated with funeral rites, but also to a wider range of more permanent memorials to the dead. Particularly influential in this regard was John Weever's Ancient Funerall Monuments (1631), the first full-length book to be dedicated to the subject of tomb memorials and epitaphs. More recently, some scholars have challenged the usage: Phillip Lindley, for example, makes a point of referring to "tomb monuments", saying "I have avoided using the term 'funeral monuments' because funeral effigies were, in the Middle Ages, temporary products, made as substitutes for the encoffined corpse for use during the funeral ceremonies". Others, however, have found this distinction "rather pedantic".
Related genres of commemorative art for the dead take many forms, such as the moai figures of Easter Island, apparently a type of sculpted
ancestor portrait, though hardly individualized. These are common in cultures as diverse as Ancient Rome and China, in both of which they are kept in the houses of the descendants, rather than being buried. Many cultures have psychopomp figures, such as the Greek Hermes and Etruscan Charun, who help conduct the spirits of the dead into the afterlife.