Generally the ancient Greeks disposed of their dead very much as do we of the present age, either by burial or by cremation.
But there were some who adopted a burial custom found in Egypt.
In place of the ordinary coffin of baked clay or the elaborately carved stone tomb, a stone coffin was procured from a special region in Asia Minor.
The stone of that region was almost pure lime and, according to Pliny, a coffin made of it had the power to completely destroy a body interred in it within forty days.
Because of its properties, such a coffin was called sarcophagus, the name being derived from Greek sarx, flesh, and phagos, eating.