Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris' ancient stone quarries. Extending south from the Barrière d'Enfer former city gate, this ossuary was created as part of the effort to eliminate the city's overflowing cemeteries. Preparation work began not long after a 1774 series of gruesome Saint Innocents-cemetery-quarter basement wall collapses added a sense of urgency to the cemetery-eliminating measure, from 1786, nightly processions of covered wagons transferred remains from most of Paris' cemeteries to a mine shaft opened near the Rue de la Tombe-Issoire; the ossuary remained forgotten until it became a novelty-place for concerts and other private events in the early 19th century. Since 2013, the Catacombs number among the 14 City of Paris Museums managed by Paris Musées. Although the ossuary comprises only a small section of the underground "carrières de Paris", Parisians often refer to the entire tunnel network as the catacombs.

Paris' earliest burial grounds were to the southern outskirts of the Roman-era Left Bank city. In ruins after the Western Roman Empire's 5th-century end and the ensuing Frankish invasions, Parisians abandoned this settlement for the marshy Right Bank: from the 4th century, the first known settlement there was on higher ground around a Saint-Etienne church and burial ground, urban expansion on the Right Bank began in earnest after other ecclesiastical landowners filled in the marshlands from the late 10th century. Thus, instead of burying its dead away from inhabited areas as usual, the Paris Right Bank settlement began with cemeteries near its centre; the most central of these cemeteries, a burial ground around the 5th-century Notre-Dame-des-Bois church, became the property of the Saint-Opportune parish after the original church was demolished by the 9th-century Norman invasions. When it became its own parish associated with the church of the "Saints Innocents" from 1130, this burial ground, filling the land between the present rue Saint-Denis, rue de la Ferronnerie, rue de la Lingerie and the rue Berger, had become the City's principal cemetery.

By the end of the same century "Saints Innocents" was neighbour to the principal Parisian marketplace Les Halles, filled to overflowing. To make room for more burials, the long-dead were exhumed and their bones packed into the roofs and walls of "charnier" galleries built inside the cemetery walls. By the end of the 18th century, the central burial ground was a two-metre-high mound of earth filled with centuries of Parisian dead, plus the remains from the Hôtel-Dieu hospital and the Morgue. A series of ineffective decrees limiting the use of the cemetery did little to remedy the situation, it was not until the late 18th century that it was decided to create three new large-scale suburban burial grounds on the outskirts of the city, to condemn all existing parish cemeteries within city limits. Much of the Left Bank area rests upon rich Lutetian limestone deposits; this stone built much of the city, but it was extracted in suburban locations away from any habitation. Because of the post 12th-century haphazard mining technique of digging wells down to the deposit and extracting it horizontally along the vein until depletion, many of these mines were uncharted, when depleted abandoned and forgotten.

Paris had annexed its suburbs many times over the centuries, by the 18th century many of its arrondissements were or included mined territories. The undermined state of the Left Bank was known to architects as early as the early 17th-century construction of the Val-de-Grâce hospital, but a series of mine cave-ins beginning 1774 with the collapse of a house along the "rue d'Enfer" caused King Louis XVI to name a commission to investigate the state of the Parisian underground; this resulted in the creation of the inspection Générale des Carrières service. The need to eliminate Les Innocents gained urgency from May 31, 1780, when a basement wall in a property adjoining the cemetery collapsed under the weight of the mass grave behind it; the cemetery was closed to the public and all intra muros burials were forbidden after 1780. The problem of what to do with the remains crowding intra muros. Mine consolidations were still occurring and the underground around the site of the 1777 collapse that had initiated the project had become a series of stone and masonry inspection passageways that reinforced the streets above.

The mine renovation and cemetery closures were both issues within the jurisdiction of the Police Prefect Police Lieutenant-General Alexandre Lenoir, directly involved in the creation of a mine inspection service. Lenoir endorsed the idea of moving Parisian dead to the subterranean passageways that were renovated during 1782. After deciding to further renovate the "Tombe-Issoire" passageways for their future role as an underground sepulchre, the idea became law during late 1785. A well within a walled property above one of the principal subterranean passageways was dug to receive Les Innocents' unearthed remains, the property i

Highlanes Gallery

Highlanes Gallery is a public art gallery and visual arts exhibition centre in Drogheda, Ireland. The gallery opened its doors on October 4, 2006 and was the culmination of many years planning to deliver a dedicated visual arts space for the Irish north east region, of an International standard in terms of design and environmental control; the gallery is sited in part of the Friary. The Franciscans gifted the property to the people of Drogheda when they ended their 760-year association with the town in 2000; the buildings date from the early 19th century, though elements date back to earlier times and include the former Franciscan burial crypts. The main exhibition spaces are open plan and include the old Church level and a new floor at the height of the old balcony and as such, the character of the building is not lost. Highlanes Gallery has a strong survey of Irish art from the early 20th Century, has great depth in relation to the representation of the key women painters of the period, including Nano Reid, Bea Orpen, Evie Hone, Mary Swanzy, Nathaniel Hill, May Guinness and Sarah Purser among others.

It has a number of important 18th Century works, including two important views of Drogheda by the Italian artist, Gabriele Ricciardelli, b. Naples fl. 1743/1782 d. c. 1782. The Gallery raised over € 4 million from a range of local donors; this is a major achievement for the town as none of the cash has come from direct government funding, with several local individuals making large cash donations to the project. The board of the gallery made a strategic decision to purchase much of the adjoining property a number of years ago, to enable it plan for the Highlanes Gallery long-term development. Much of this property has been incorporated in the development and will be rented to cross subsidise the gallery programme. Highlanes Gallery programme over the first year will see it reintroduce the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection to the public for a three-month period; this will be complemented with borrowed works from national and private collections, in order to place the late 19th century works in the Drogheda collection in their context, which has a strong representation from women artists.

Other elements of the little known Drogheda Municipal Art Collection – which dates from the 17th Century, will be shown from time to time. Highlanes Gallery are working with Banbridge District Council who are developing a space dedicated to the studio of F. E. McWilliam, this will lead to joint programming and education services in the coming years between both towns. Development work on the gallery will continue into 2007; the Highlanes Gallery has full planning permission for Phase 2 - more environmentally controlled storage areas, two further ‘cube galleries’ and an education centre in 2007. In addition, the Gallery's education programme includes in its early phase a strong emphasis on adult education, including art history lectures, early childhood work and a strong internet site aimed at teenage school children to provide them with an easy to use internet site to assist their art history education and development; the Gallery has a craftshop and cafe which specialises in craft or artisan food produced in the region, including the eastern seaboard of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Highlanes website


Eutamias is a genus of chipmunks within the tribe Marmotini of the squirrel family. It includes the Siberian chipmunk; the genus is treated as a subgenus of Tamias, now restricted to the eastern chipmunk of North America. Neotamias, which now includes the western North American chipmunks, has been included in Eutamias. In addition to the Siberian chipmunk, several fossil species have been assigned to this genus: Eutamias ertemtensis Qiu, 1991 – late Miocene to Pliocene of China Eutamias lishanensis Qiu et al. 2008 – late Miocene of China Eutamias orlovi Sulimski, 1964 – Pliocene of Poland and Bulgaria Eutamias sihongensis Qiu and Long, 1986 – early Miocene of China. Eutamias wimani – Pleistocene of China Bruijn H. de. 1995. Sciuridae and Eomyidae. Münchner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen 28:87–102. Doukas, C. 2003. The MN4 faunas of Karydia. Coloquios de Paleontología, Vol. Ext. 1:127–132. Mein, P. and Ginsburg, L. 2002. Sur l'âge relatif des différents dépôts karstiques miocènes de La Grive-Saint-Alban.

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