I am in my first Dwarf Fortress game. (So far it's going okay. I'm wondering when the Fun starts.)

I have a refuse pile located away from my main fortress. It is currently being used for normal refuse.

A little while ago I found miasma spreading in a tunnel. It was coming from bits of rotting Dawrf corpse. I don't know why but this wasn't being cleared away.

I marked it for dumping, not realising the difference between a dump and a refuse pile. Now I have miasma spreading from my stone dumping spot.

I looked at the dump with k and pressed f to "claim" the body parts, hoping this would mean some dwarf would come and haul them away to the refuse pile. Pressing this removed the parentheses from around "Obok's right hand" in the list of what's in the dump tile, but nothing else has happened.

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(EDIT: The body parts have been here long enough now that the miasma has died down to a single square, under the yellow X, but still they linger.)

How can I get rid of these body parts?

  • Is the refuse stockpile full? They don't work like dumps, where everything can be on a single tile. May 6, 2017 at 7:33
  • Is the refuse stockpile set to accept humanoid corpses? Body parts? Better yet, are there any empty coffins? May 6, 2017 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


Bodies of dwarfs, or parts thereof, will not normally be moved to a refuse stockpile, because the dwarfs do not normally consider their friends' dead bodies to be trash. Instead they will be put in a graveyard stockpile (if you've assigned one), or a coffin (if you've built one).

If you really want to, you can edit the settings on your refuse stockpile to also accept dwarf parts. But the much better plan is to make a few coffins in your mason's workshop, and then build them somewhere out of the way. You don't need to create a room from the built coffin or specifically assign it to anyone; they will be automatically assigned at need. Failing to grant the dead dwarf a coffin or other proper memorial risks the late inhabitant's indignation, which may be dangerous.

Also, I can tell you right now, a tiny 3x3 refuse pile is not going to be enough for a fully functioning fortress, unless you have absolutely no livestock industry at all.

  • 1
    You do need to explicitly allow burials in every coffin for them to accept the body or parts of a dwarf. May 16, 2017 at 14:49

Dwarves do NOT consider corpses (or things that are parts of corpses like skulls) of sentient creatures that are not vermin to be refuse. To store them you actually need to make a corpse stockpile (p and then y). Dwarves will then haul the corpses to the corpse stockpile.

To get rid of corpses, for Dwarves it's actually recommended to build coffins since leaving them around causes unhappy thoughts for relatives if they happen to stumble across them and may cause all sorts of issues with ghosts. If the corpse is unreachable, engrave a Memorial Slab instead and build that to prevent (or get rid of) the ghost.

For other creatures, it's usually recommended to either create a garbage dump underneath an Atom Smasher (bridges destroy items underneath them) or above a magma hatch and then opening said hatch (not recommended since not everything burns up, but magma is more Dwarfy). This is also favorable for Dwarves if you are in a reanimating biome, because then you don't have to worry about reanimated corpses (build Memorial Slabs instead to prevent ghosts).

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