Wamba Ossuary – Wamba, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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Wamba Ossuary

Wamba, Spain

One of the largest ossuaries in Spain is packed from floor to ceiling with bones. 


Notably, Wamba is the only municipality in Spain whose name contains the letter W, but it also contains one of the country’s largest ossuaries. 

Deep in the vaults of the Santa Maria Church in Wamba, the skeletons of thousands of monks and villagers are on display. The jam-packed ossuary is full to the ceiling with stacked bones. It is so dense that it takes looking at it for a second to start picking out the over 3,000 skulls that stare out from the rest of the jumble of bones. It doesn’t seem like there was a great deal of order to the stack other than making sure to face out the skulls so that their yawning sockets could stare, dead-eyed at visitors. The general disorder of the bones has been a major obstacle to research for forensic and biological anthropologists. 

The cache of bones was deposited there between the 12th and 18th centuries, but the church only became a national historic site in 1931. Better late than never, so long as the old bones are protected.  

To get an idea of why someone would collect so many bones in one death-filled spot, an epitaph written on one wall gives some insight: “As you see, I saw myself as you see me, you see all ends here Think about it and you will not sin....”

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