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Mass Graves Discovered at Czech Republic’s Sedlec Ossuary

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

KUTNÁ HORA, CZECH REPUBLIC—Radio Prague International reports that restoration of the Sedlec Ossuary has revealed 34 medieval mass graves holding the remains of some 1,200 people. Originally constructed in the early sixteenth century, the Sedlec Ossuary is a subterranean chapel where the bones of an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 medieval people were arranged as decorations and furnishings, including a chandelier, a coat of arms, and four large mounds. Archaeologist Jan Frolik said that the newly discovered graves hold the remains of people who died during a famine in 1318 and the plague in 1348. “So when the ossuary was built, they had no idea that the graves were there,” he explained. So far, researchers studying the bones have found an even ratio of adults to children, but 30 percent more adult men than women. Frolik and his colleagues suggest that men came to Kutná Hora to work as miners and lost their lives there during the dangerous work. “Otherwise I would say it was a typical medieval society, judging by the injuries and illnesses reflected in the bones,” he said. To read about a mass grave in France containing the remains of more than 150 victims of an epidemic, go to "A Parisian Plague."

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