Even with more than six million remains in the Catacombs of Paris there are apparently still absences in the patterns created by those filling the space.
The Paris Catacombs are a story of multigenerational effects: the mining of limestone for Paris’s characteristic buildings, the collapses of buildings into the voids the mining created, the efforts to reinforce the cavities, and ultimately the decades-long project to transfer the remains of six million Parisians to the space. At this point, it has earned the name “Empire of the Dead”.
This is a big week for images of annular objects and I want to make my contribution from a less cutting-edge end of the spectrum: looking up a shaft from inside the Paris Catacombs. The rainy day at the other end of this portal means umbrellas obscure the sky.
A certain anthropologist encouraged us to visit the Catacombs of Paris, and we were stunned by the walls of bones. In a decades-long project, more than six million remains were moved to caverns under the city.
I’m not sure I was really prepared to come face-to-face with so many skulls.