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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 ?
Relying on the names inscribed on the ossuaries, along with supporting evidence from scholars and the Gospels themselves, the film concludes that the Talpiot Tomb, largely overlooked by Israeli officials, is the tomb of Jesus and his family.
To me, this is convincing, but more comparisons with ossuaries from other tombs need to be done.
But Tabor, Jacobovici and Rami Arav, an archaeologist and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, say what's unique about these two ossuaries are their inscriptions and carvings.
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.
Moreover, when questioned about the history of the often weathered or overgrown remains of pre-Christian ossuaries and shrines still visible in the landscape, people admit that they do not know who made them or whose bones might be deposited in them.
No one made much of the names on the ossuaries -- "Jesus, Son of Joseph," "Mary," "Matthew," a diminutive of "Joseph" (one of Christ's brothers), one suggested to have belonged to Mary Magdalene (based on writings centuries after her death) and "Judah, son of Jesus" -- until executive producer James Cameron (who's well-known for thinking big) and documentarians Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino united two years ago.
aeiou words: armigerous, epuration, inquorate, ossuaries, uvarovite lesser-known counterparts: epizootic, anile, estivate, thegosis, trilemma reversible words (semordnilaps): avid, ogre, debut, nonet, rebus words for odds & ends: aglet, chad, tittle, grommet, pintle spell-checker demons: impassible, wether, specie, angary, demur words from placenames: Ultima Thule, El Dorado, Timbuktu, Brigadoon, stoic
Most ossuaries did not mention siblings, implying that Jesus was someone well-known and important.
Dunn, concludes that archaeological evidence contributes little to an understanding of Romans, Sardis and Melito, Colossians, or Sepphoris; much more promising is the evidence for Jewish ossuaries, mikwaot (ritual baths), and synagogues in Palestine.
I would be eager to engage this colleague in conversations about topics that he did not include, such as the use of ossuaries (charnel houses, as the British prefer to call them) and the difficulty with which Protestants eliminated them; the gradual trend, well advanced by the seventeenth century, toward the use of coffins and mourning clothes; and--a theme on which he just touches--the eagerness of Lutheran (and Calvinist) pastors to rein in the grieving of the bereaved.
156) Catholics believed in the post-burial reintegration of ancestors into the communal ossuaries, but this was a practice that reformers tried to end as soon as possible.