The casket industry traces its roots back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where wood, cloth and paper were used to make sarcophagus-style burial boxes. Coffins, or funeral caskets, are containers in which the dead are buried. Burial practices differ markedly across cultures and through history, but many people’s have used wooden, stone, or metal boxes for burial. Beautifully decorated stone boxes called sarcophagi were used in ancient Egypt. Stone coffins were also used in Europe in the Christian era, and later lead or iron coffins became common.