From Academic Kids

An ossuary is a chest, building, well or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains.


In Persia

In Persia the Zoroastrians used a deep well for this function from the earliest times (c. 3,000 years ago) and called it astudan (literally, "the place for the bones"). There are many rituals and regulations in the Zoroastrian faith concerning the astudans. The Iranian Aryans in the region of central-Asia called an ossuary tanbar and used them from very ancient times.

In Judaism

In Judaism in the first-century B.C. to about A.D. 70, as space for burial tombs was scarce, it was the Jewish burial custom to place their dead in a cave for a year, and once the body had become skeletonised, the bones were collected and placed in a chest that served as the ossuary. It is also referred to as a bone box. Some ossuaries were found to be intricately carved, some with feet. The ossuary of the high priest Caiaphas has been discovered from these times.

The James Ossuary

In 2002, an ossuary allegedly belonging to James the Just was brought to the public's attention by Oded Golan and Andre Lemaire. If authentic, the 2,000 year old ossuary which bore the inscription, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." would have been the first archaeological proof that Jesus existed, which until then, the only references to the three men were found in manuscripts. It was however found that though the box was correctly dated, the inscription it bore was a forgery. There is some controversy as to how the box was dated; however, Oded Golan, who was believed to have created the inscription was later indicted for fraud.

In Europe

In Europe, limited cemetery space or other unusual needs in some areas again led to the reuse of burial plots and the recovery of human remains to be stored in ossuaries. One celebrated such site is the Sedlec ossuary in the Czech Republic.

External links

fa:استودان he:גלוסקמא


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