Subterranean Burial Grounds

by MSO

These catacombs located in Paris, France hold the remains of more than 6 million people.

Located beneath churches and connected through a network of underground tunnels and burial chambers, catacombs have been extensively used by several cultures throughout history as a beneficial means of disposing of the dead respectfully.

Originally designed as a temporary holding facility for the bodies of Christian martyrs, the concept eventually expanded due to its practical uses of limiting the space of real estate as well as ensuring the remains of the dead do not reemerge during periods of intense flooding or contaminate water supplies.

Catacombs also found acceptance when circumventing Roman laws which forbade burials within city limits.

Historically, catacombs were used to accommodate the dead in coffins, shrouds, sarcophagi and urns and were used for memorial ceremonies as well.

While catacombs are less wide-spread, some monastic sects still use catacombs and many receive visits from researchers and historians of the early church as many of the niches are marked with plaques containing details about the life and death of the people they contain.

Read more:

http://www.catacombe.roma.it/

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-catacombs.htm

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