COLUMBARIUM, originally a pigeon house, and so still used, particularly of the large, round, tower-like structures common in many districts in France; a dove cote. The term is also, and more commonly, applied to a sepulchral building con taining many small niches for funerary urns. Columbaria were the most common places for the disposal of the ashes of the dead in imperial pre-Christian Rome, except for the very wealthy. Many have been excavated and are one of the most fruitful sources of Latin inscriptions. Columbaria were erected by societies, gilds, the slaves and freedmen of great families and similar associations. They usually took the form of an open court, the walls of which contained the arched niches for the urns. Occasionally they were treated with considerable architec tural splendour as in the columbarium of the freedmen of Livia in the Via Appia, Rome (early first century A.D.). In modern times, with the revival of cremation, there has come a new development of columbaria in connection with the great crem atories, the most famous example being that surrounding the crematory of Hanover, Germany.