In 1578 a labyrinth of underground burials was discovered in Rome that contained the remains of thousands of individuals assumed to be early Christian martyrs. The bones of these so-called ‘catacomb saints’ were subsequently disinterred and sent to many Catholic churches and religious houses in German-speaking Europe to replace holy relics that had been destroyed during the Protestant Reformation. Reassembled by skilled artisans, encrusted with gold and jewels and richly dressed in fantastic, colourful costumes, the skeletons were displayed in elaborate public shrines as reminders of the spiritual treasures that awaited the faithful after death. For nearly three centuries these ornate ‘Heavenly Bodies’ were venerated as miracle-workers and protectors of their communities until doubts about their authenticity surfaced in the modern era. They then became a source of embarrassment for the Church and most were destroyed or hidden away.