Long after their deaths, the legends of notable historical and religious figures continue to inspire throughout the generations. Their remains bear tales just as intriguing. It is a long held tradition, in many countries, to elaborately decorate the bones of such prominent people and display them within special ossuaries. Paul Koudounaris, an expert in the history of bone-decorated shrines, shares his photographs and the secret histories behind these skeletal shrines in this interview with George Noory originally webcast February 3, 2014.
Relic hunter and ossuary expert, Paul Koudounaris has a doctorate in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has written widely on European ossuaries and charnel houses for both academic and popular journals. As the author of the books Heavenly Bodies and Empire of Death, he has photographed over seventy sites containing human bones in nearly twenty countries.