(redirected from ossuaries)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.



a depository for the burial of the bones of the dead. In Russian archaeological literature the term ossuarii refers primarily to small ceramic, alabaster, and stone boxes in which Middle Asian Zoroastrians buried the bones of the dead. The oldest ossuaries, dating from the end of the first millennium B.C., were found in Khwarazm; they are in the form of statues and depict the deified dead. Ossuaries were revered in the ancestor cult that was particularly characteristic of the Middle Asian variant of Zoroastrianism. From the fifth to the eighth century they were widespread in Middle Asia; they sometimes took the form of funerary buildings decorated with reliefs. Late Khwarazmian ossuaries have been found decorated with multicolored paintings and with inscriptions in which ossuaries are called tapankuk.


Rapoport, Iu. A. Iz istorii religii drevnego Khorezma (ossuarii). Moscow, 1971.

ossuary, bone house, ossarium

A storage place for the bones of the dead; either a structure or a vault lined with such bones ornamentally arranged.
References in periodicals archive ?
To me, this is convincing, but more comparisons with ossuaries from other tombs need to be done.
In 1927 General Giovanni Faracovi was asked to prepare a national plan for dealing with the war dead, and he proposed exhuming bodies from cemeteries to create a smaller number of mass graves or ossuaries close to the battlefields or in the crypts of churches.
The use of ossuaries in tombs was common in and around Jerusalem at the time of Jesus.
Dispensing almost entirely with periods and resorting to strategic uses of the comma, Ossuaries is both gloriously and maddeningly paratactic, enforcing connections between objects, ideas, sensations, and actions without explicitly indicating what those connections might be.
Ten stone bone boxes, or ossuaries, were discovered in 1980 during construction work in south Jerusalem.
Trouble is, the arguments for claiming to have discovered the tomb and the ossuaries that contained the remains of Jesus and his family are only vaguely persuasive -- not even former CIA director George Tenet would've declared this evidence a "slam dunk.
History professor Amos Kloner said: "At least three other ossuaries have been found inscribed with the name Jesus and countless others with the names Mary and Joseph.
The entries cover all those things one is assumed to know such as the meaning of enclosures, advowsons, ridings, militia, saints' days, window tax, ossuaries, heraldry (one of the author's main interests), Martello towers, glebe, boroughs and so on and on.
A few line drawings of types of tombs, ossuaries, and related materials would have saved many words of tortuous descriptions.
Simultaneously, contact period ossuaries were being dug along the Potomac River, yielding the first archaeological data about demography, mortuary practices and European trade goods associated with Chesapeake Indians (Graham 1935; Stewart and Wedel 1937; Ferguson and Stewart 1940).
Most ossuaries did not mention siblings, implying that Jesus was someone well-known and important.