Skeletons, skulls and Franciscan monks

Lurking under the San Francisco Monastery in Lima, Peru is one of the finest collections of skulls and bones to be found!

Skulls, San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs

Skulls in a pit at the San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs, Lima

Originally constructed in 1546, it is one of the oldest churches in South America. It also served as the first official Catholic cemetery in Lima, at a time when the dead were laid to rest in catacombs beneath the church. The process for the bodies brought down to the catacombs was roughly to lie the fresh bodies in troughs of lime – to isolate the bones and then move the bones to larger storage areas – ordered on size.

It’s a great place to visit – with a tour guide and no photos allowed (something I choose to disregard!). There is much that still hasn’t been excavated, but what is there is well worth a visit.

Chamber in the San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs, Lima

Pit of bones, San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs

Pit of bones, San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs

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