The Lima Catacombs are located at the San Francisco Church at Plaza de Armas in downtown Lima. The church was built in the 17th century and the catacombs were started as as a graveyard for for deceased church members. They dead were buried in graves, but space was limited, and after a few years the remains were disinterred by a church official and put into a common, deep pit. Over time, the place became the last rest of Lima's public. The bones were precariously thrown in until 1808, when the city cemetery was opened outside of Lima.
In 1943, the crypt was opened and excavated by archaeologists. The archeologist arranged the human remains artistically, thinking it would have more appeal. That is how the catacombs became to be arranged, with skulls placed together in a center pile, with arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms. Today the remains of some 25,000 people are stored at the catacombs. But several experts claim that the number of deceased here is actually closer to 70,000.
|San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs by Dave Etzold|
|By cadeva on Flickr|
|By seagulled4 on Flickr|
|By loordesign on Flickr|
|Photo by: Michael Fairchild|
|Photo credit: Tom Cheung|
Info from here