The Madeleine Brand Show for September 21, 2011

Buildings made of human bones: exploring the world's ossuaries and charnelhouses

Paul Koudounaris

Never heard of an ossuary or charnelhouse? They're the final resting place for human skeletons. In religious sites - primarily churches - masses of human bones have been kept safe for centuries. Initially, the idea was to keep a body in tact on sacred soil when the rapture came. Later, cavernous rooms made of bones were erected to remind us of our mortality.

Writer and photographer Paul Koudounaris joins us. He has explored and photographed bone depositories from Germany and Italy to the Czech Republic and Peru.


Paul Koudounaris, writer of "Empire of Death."

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