Monday, July 23, 2012

Dem DRY Bones

A couple of years ago, I went to the catacombs in Paris (it's really obnoxiously written, due to the fact that French keyboards have some keys in the wrong places - but if you want to use your secret decoder rings and try to read it, it's here). I swear I'm not morbid, but there is something interesting about bones, and something kind of fun about being creeped out by the fact that said bones used to be a person. So when the Evil One told me about the catacombs here in Peru, I decided I needed to visit them. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the monastery doesn't allow photos to be taken (I wasn't that impressed with it, and I'm blaming this on the Parisian catacombs...and I'm fully aware that I'm starting to sound like some sort of macabre snob, so I'll shut up), but the catedral does, and this was pretty interesting.
This is a shot of a crypt under a chapel in the catedral. I knew that in Europe people used to be buried under churches, but this is the first time I'd actually gotten to see one of those crypts. And in this cathedral, you can actually go under the altar and see where the other half gets buried...
Why is it so important to be buried under the altar? Well, apparently if you're buried under the altar, you go straight up to heaven. That sounds like a bit of Catholic propaganda to me, but you know - whatever pays the bills...
This is also apparently where they buried children. My Mormon propaganda says children go to heaven anyways, so they probably should have saved that space for tax payers, but it's a nice thought nonetheless. Well, no worries - apparently when you bought a space under the church, you only got to keep it for a few years, after which you were moved out to the catacombs. By that time you were probably hunkered down in your cloud with your robe and you didn't care where your bones were. A very practical outlook, I think.
On a normal holiday, this probably would have been the full extent of my weird fascination with dead people, but this is my super summer extravaganza, people. Her Evilness also shared some photos with me from a place near Nazca - the Chauchilla Necropolis. A little language lesson for you - necropolis comes from Greek. Polis, of course, means city, and necro means dead. Put it together and you have something like the above. Evil and I were the only people out there other than the handful of people operating the ticket booth and snack shop in the distance. It was desolate. And did I mention the bones strewn across the ground?
In another life (pun totally intended) these bones were part of funerary bundles lovingly buried with pottery and other items. Presumably some of these had some value to them, since the bones became strewn across the desert at the hands of grave robbers. One archaeological society or another has taken it upon themselves to gather at least the larger bones up and bring some order to the site (kind of like the old woman all skin and bones...you remember that old Halloween song, right???) These excavated grave sites are the result:
It isn't the easiest place to get to but it was an interesting end to our road trip to Nazca. Stay tunes for the REAL reason for our road trip to Nazca - Senora Buendia's tejas! Just kidding...the Nazca lines, of course!

No comments:

Post a Comment