What is an ossuary?

An ossuary is a facility used to store human bones. In previous times, ossuaries were often used in areas where grave space was scarce. In this case, a body might be buried in a temporary grave and exhumed some years later after decomposition had occurred, with the bones then being moved into permanent housing in the ossuary. There are many examples of ossuaries in Europe which date back to the Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish religions all have a history of using ossuaries to store their dead.