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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: Workers inspect an ossuary at the Teutonic Cemetery at the Vatican July 20.
Radka Krejci, Corporate Department Manager for the (https://sedlecossuary.com/) Sedlec Ossuary says regular masses are held in the upper chapel and lower chapel of the church.
Amnon Rosenfeld, Howard Feldman, and Wolfgang Krumbein provide scientific evidence that strongly supports the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary (i.e., "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus").
The creation of the special ossuary in the crypt of the church for the skeletons is especially poignant as the cemetery below the castle is an early Christian site.
Some of these bones were transferred either to an ossuary at Makedonitissa, or to Greece," the CING said.
A person is buried, as is done today, in a regular grave, and a year later, the bones that remain are collected and placed in an ossuary."
The 22 contributions are organized into sections on ossuaries and Jewish burial customs in Judea and Galilee; inscriptions and prosopography; methodologies for investigating DNA and patina evidence; the Talpiot tomb, a "Jesus family," and Mary Magdalene; the James ossuary (thought by some to contain the remains of Jesus's brother); and Talpiot, statistics, the holy sepulcher, and the Apostles.
They also give evidence that the missing ossuary is the famous James ossuary with the carved label: James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.
The modest limestone burial box, known as an ossuary, is typical of first-century Jerusalem, and is owned by Oded Golan, an Israeli antiquities collector.
Sedlec Ossuary is not only a church in the Czech Republic housing more than 40,000 human bones, it's also a band from a small place called Topeka, Kansas.
The Kleinburg Ossuary was located on the Glassco Property, which is now part of a conservation sector and protected as a natural archaeological heritage site.