The Ossuary now has its very own baby Facebook page, and the only person who likes it so far is me.
Come join me; I’d love to hear from you!
ossuary / human skeletal remains / torpedo jar
Excavated/Findspot Bushire, cemetery 3 miles to the east of the walls of Bushire, South Iran
The British Museum
Nadar, Catacombs of Paris, Crypt 8, 1861/62
If you thought that Sedlec was the only ossuary worth knowing about in the Czech Republic, you’d be extremely wrong. I was wrong, too. Until Atlas Obscura’s post about the Brno Ossuary showed up in my Facebook feed last week.
Turns out there’s a new (old) ossuary on the map: one of the largest in Europe, second only to the Parisian catacombs. In 2001, archaeologists rediscovered this forgotten trove of bones (about 50,000 skeletons’ worth), which were once neatly stacked but at some point along the way were jumbled by a muddy flood.
From the article:
The bones thought to be from the 1600 and 1700s, are believed to have been dug up from an old cemetery to make space for more burials, as in most of the ossuaries and catacombs in Europe. […] It is clear that many of the people died of various disease which can be seen in the coloration of the bones themselves. Though all the bones are tinted yellow — having never been exposed to sunlight — the extra yellow ones likely died of cholera, while the red tinted bones probably died from the plague.
Sadly, the site isn’t open to the public, but will be in the future. There’s still some health risk, as the bones haven’t yet been sanitized and could contain harmful bacteria as a result of the flooding conditions.
Image Source: Kirk on Wikimedia Commons.
After the recent discovery of a prehistoric charnel house in Orkney, Scotland, Katy Meyers of Bones Don’t Lie writes about the nature and purpose of charnel houses through time and across different cultures. Click the photo for the article!
Image: Charnel house in crypt of St. Brides, London via Empire de la Mort - worth checking out for the *stunning* photographs!
Votive skull, Fontenelle Cemetery Caves, Naples, Italy
Like many ossuaries in Europe, the Cimitero Fontanelle began as an secondary burial ground when the church yards and crypts began to overflow. Unlike other ossuaries, the skulls of the anonymous dead were lovingly cared for, named, and then asked for prophesies of winning lotto numbers.
Another view of the Capela dos Ossos in Évora, Portugal. Source: Wikipedia.
Inscription above the entrance to the Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel) in Évora, Portugal. Translation: “We bones, lying here bare, are awaiting yours.”
Here are two corpses hanging from chains. Oh yeah, and some bones and skulls hanging out behind them.
They’re at the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), in Évora, Portugal. It’s a small interior chapel built in the 16th century. From Wikipedia:
Its walls and eight pillars are decorated in carefully arranged bones and skulls held together by cement. The ceiling is made of white painted brick and is painted with death motifs. The number of skeletons of monks was calculated to be about 5000, coming from the cemeteries that were situated inside several dozen churches. Some of these skulls have been scribbled with graffiti. Two desiccated corpses, one of which is a child, dangle from a chain.
You can view a 360-degree panorama of the chapel here. Despite the picture above, the place is really quite beautiful, especially the ceiling.
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