Kicki Karlén discovered the skulls and bones of 80 people stuffed inside Ikea bags in a church in the southern Swedish town of Kläckeberga, the Mirror reported.
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Local residents responded angrily, saying the dead deserved to be treated more respectfully.
Karlén, who found the bags of bones under the church floorboards said: “There were loads of skulls and bones stuffed into Ikea bags. I counted up to 80.”
She added: “I became angry, very angry about how they were just sitting there. I spoke with some people from the parish who said the bones had been there since 2009.”
Archaeologist Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay told Swedish news website The Local: “I was on the team called in to dig out the bones five years ago. Our mission was to document and rebury the bones, which may be as much as 500 years old. But the reburial was delayed and I have no idea why. The plan was to rebury them as soon as possible, but that’s up to the church. The county board said they couldn’t leave church ground, and it became complicated.”
He explained that the bones were probably reburied many years ago in what he called a “bone house.”
Papmehl-Dufay denied storing the bones in the Ikea bags, but suggested “it’s not standard practice, definitely not for archaeologists, but the Ikea bags aren’t actually that bad. They’d be great for stopping the molding process. But it can’t be that good to have them in the basement for so long.”
The overflowing bags of bones were covered by a tarpaulin since parts of the church were dug up and rebuilt to allow wheelchair access.