I went to google maps, btw, to see what the area of the LA Coliseum was.
The area of the whole stadium is about 62,000 m2:
And that is what BT shows in his post - the whole coliseum. But even if we figure a person who is eyeballing that to be able to deftly subtract the areas without persons in it, the inner area is about 11,000 m2:
So the area with people is about 50,000 m2 - and the stadium holds about 100,000 people - a packing density of about 2 people per square meter. When one realizes that the seated person has a depth of about a meter or so, you end up thinking a packing density of about 2 per cubic meter or less.
Charles Provan packed persons into a box he states is 21" x 21" x 60.5"
. If you click on this link, you see what he is referring to in a table at the very end of that webpage. Obviously a couple persons who are taller than 60.5" will not fit in the 60.5" box and their heads go above that - as can be seen in Provan's pictures here
. The box as Provan specifies it is 0.42 m3 - so let's say it is an even 0.50 m3 to take into account these people who do not fully fit into it. Then that is 8 persons in a 0.5 m3 box - or 16 persons per m3 - 8 times the LA Coliseum density.
If one looks at this Harvard Crimson article about phone booth stuffing from 1959
, one sees that the phone booths we are talking about here are 3' x 3' x 7' = 1.8 m3. And that article mentions that it is claimed that 33 persons are alleged to have been stuffed into a booth. This is not recognized as the official largest packing though on Wikipedia's page about Phonebooth stuffing
. They recognize 25 people ranging from 5'-4" to 6'-2" having stuffed themselves into one of these phonebooths. So that is something like 14 people per cubic meter for phonebooth stuffing.
Obviously the Coliseum seating is less like the case of corpses thrown into pits than these latter 2 cases. The corpse packing density in pits is closer to the 14 or 16 corpses per cubic meter than it is to 2 corpses per cubic meter or less.
Showing a person a 2 person per cubic meter packing is misleading and not helpful for anyone. I can't infer the packing that would result from tossing corpses into large pits by looking at that - and no one else can either. Provan or phonebooth stuffing though would be much more helpful in the visualization - and is closer to what one would think it to be in the case of a very large number of corpses thrown into very large pits. The cadavers would of course contact each other and bend around each other. That is not the stadium case at all.
I claim that it is not very intuitive for what the packing density would be - other than to people who have given it good thought and looked over a large number of cases - as we have done here. Since we HAVE done that, we know quite well just how poor that stadium packing is, and only a dishonest person would use it to illustrate the matter.
Off the top of my head:
Stadium: 2 per m2 => 2 per m3 or less
Tokyo subway cars: 6-9 per m3
Phonebooth stuffing: 14-18 per m3 (all adults)
Provan's experiment: about 16-19 per m3 (mix of different ages)
The stadium case is not a good thing to show people. The people's bodies do not overlap at all in the stadium case - and both the spacing and the depth part is hard to figure from a picture of that. Only if one were to give it good thought would one know to multiply that packing by about 5 or so. Not being aware of any of the other examples, I imagine one MIGHT think there's a factor of maybe 2 or 3. It is more like a factor of 5 or more.
The stadium analogy confuses more than it enlightens.