St Hilaire death road and ossuary



St Hilaire death road and ossuary

Beyond the fortified town of Marville, in north-east France, is a hill with, at its foot, a gothic cross. Two roads lead up to the hill summit; a winding, metalled road, the other being an ancient straight death road, embanked like a hollow road and lined with trees. This leads to the cemetery of Saint Hillaire with a 12th century church at its centre. All about there are sculptured gravestones, including a number carved during the 15th century. In one corner is an ossuary in which are stacked some 40,000 skulls, some of these are enclosed in a wooden case, in which there is an opening, so that the skulls, which are called "horloges de mort", can be seen. John Palmer

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