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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 ?
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 James ossuary is the "slam dunk" in the statistical analysis, but it was unfortunately stolen in the initial incompetence, probably by someone hoping for money.
The bones were collected after a year and placed in an ossuary.
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.
After her death--she was buried just a few meters from the suicide Jonathan Steinhart--the pastor Nikolaus Nufibaumer, who never took his trained dog into the cemetery or the sacristy, instead leaving him shut up in his car at the cemetery gate, had the sacristan's filthy house knocked down, along with the barn and the ossuary.
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.
Our last halt for the day was the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs of Kutna Hora.
There was no osteological evidence to be found in any of the antechambers, with the exception of hypogea 52, where a burial without grave goods in top half of the fill, and a ossuary with three ceramic vessels and mammal bones at the bottom of the fill, could be found.
Her burlap-wrapped shapes, resembling relics in an ossuary or mummified remains, emanate a spooky message to the modern masses.