While world religions and ancient history are replete with alternative burial solutions, some of the most mesmerizing are found in ossuaries
There’s a growing consensus that the typical Western burial is pretty unsustainable. From the chemicals used to prepare the body, to the metal caskets and concrete plots that store corpses, to the water-intensive park-like atmosphere of many cemeteries, some forward-thinking folks are looking for more eco-friendly ways to leave their mortal coils behind. (And no, cremation doesn’t count if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint.)
While world religions and ancient history are replete with alternative burial solutions, some of the most mesmerizing are found in ossuaries. Sometimes also referred to as charnel houses, these structures prominently display human bones for decoration, contemplation, and memorialization in a space-efficient way that also happens to be aesthetically pleasing. We’ve selected 13 of the most striking sites, but there’s many more catalogued in the book The Empire of Death and its companion website Empire de la Mort.