Jewel Encrusted Skeletons

Art historian Paul Koudounaris hunted down these jewel encrusted skeletons in secret Catholic vaults. Those are the remains of Catholic martyrs dug up from Roman catacombs. They were sent to churches across Europe to replace relics destroyed in Reformation. Some took up to five years to decorate in gold, silver and gemstones. Several skeletons were even found hidden away in lock-ups and containers.
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Unbelievable Skeletons Unearthed From The Catacombs Of Rome

Many of these skeletons (given the name ‘The Catacomb Saints’ by those who first discovered them) were then distributed across Europe (predominantly Germany) as replacements for the countless holy relics which had been smashed, stolen or destroyed during the Protestant Reformation. Once delivered, each skeleton was then clothed and adorned into a variety of precious jewels, expensive cloth, crowns, armour and even given wigs.


Unbelievable Skeletons_3 Unbelievable Skeletons_4 Unbelievable Skeletons_5 Unbelievable Skeletons_6 Unbelievable Skeletons_8They were put on display inside their designated churches as a reminder to all who visited, for the riches and wealth that awaited them post death – providing they swore allegiance to the Christian faith.

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