- A pit containing a wall made entirely of human bones and skulls has been recently unearthed in Ghent, Belgium.
- Mysteriously, the bones seem to all be shins, thighs, and skull fragments with no other types being present.
- Researchers will continue to examine the bones to find out more information.
Archaeologists working on excavating Saint Bavo's Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium made a grim discovery: a wall made entirely of human bones—mainly comprised of adult thigh and shin bones with shattered pieces of human skulls throughout. The bones were unearthed while workers dug a pit to build a new visitor center at the church.
It's likely that the bones—which are estimated to date back as far as mid 15th century—were packed tightly and in a stacked formation to fit as many as possible, but the team studying the site isn't entirely sure what purpose the bone wall serves.
“At the moment we are still examining which idea caused this. Is it only a practical thing [the precise packing of the bones] or is there also a religious [or] spiritual dimension?” said lead researcher, Janiek De Gryse.
De Gryse adds that the finding is especially rare because graves built in pits usually feature “lots of loose human bones,” which wasn't the case at Saint Bavo's. The bones were arranged and neatly organized in place of being randomly strewn about.
Smaller bones—such as fingers, ribs, and those belonging to children—weren't found in the pit likely because they were too much of a nuisance to move. Additionally, children's graves were often poorly tended to and when bones had to be moved, gravediggers reached for the largest ones often leaving small ones behind. This, however, doesn't explain why no arm bones were found in the pit considering their larger size.
According to De Gryse, “the faithful believed in a resurrection of the body,” and so, considered them sacred. This—and scarce burial space—led to the rise of ossuaries, spaces in which the bones of the deceased could be stored, sometimes in specifically designed arrangements. The largest ossuary in the world is the network of catacombs beneath Paris, which reportedly house the bones of approximately six million people.
De Gryse says that for now, the bones will be moved and not be made available to the public adding that “there's a great deal of research still to be done.”
Source: Interesting Engineering
You Might Also Like