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Workers discover 700-year-old lead coffin under Notre Dame Cathedral

Lead sarcophagus in the shape of a man in the center of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

A lead sarcophagus was discovered under the floor of Notre Dame Cathedral.
A photo: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP (Getty Images)

From the ashes of the terrible fire of Notre Dame Cathedral give birth to new discoveries: A a group of archaeologists recently found sculptures and several graves just below the floor of the church, also like a lead sarcophagus of the 14th century, which They thought he belonged to a religious leader.

Discoveries have been made before reconstruction of the spire of Notre Dame, which collapsed during April 2019 ablaze. Ahead of the spire’s reconstruction, the researchers had to test the stability of Notre Dame’s floor. Archaeologists ensured that nothing important was damaged in the process.

That This was stated by the Ministry of Culture of France. that under the floor of the church were found numerous burials dating back to the 18th century. The ministry did not provide details on the nature of any burials other than a lead sarcophagus that was found around the pipes of a 19th-century underground heating system. It is not clear why the post-Napoleonic Parisians left the sarcophagus in the midst of the plumbing. But, despite previous disturbances, the sarcophagus is in surprisingly good condition, although warped and slightly dented from the weight of the earth on it for so many years.

Archaeologists on site inserted a small chamber into the sarcophagus to assess the safety of its contents. Images ended up hinting who was buried in a metal box.

“You can see pieces of cloth, hair and, above all, a pillow of leaves on top of the head – a well-known phenomenon when religious leaders were buried,” says Christophe Besnier, an archaeologist at the National Archaeological Institute of France. told Reuters. “The fact that these plants are still there indicates that the contents are very well preserved.”

Sarcophagus material it wasn’t surprising. From Roman times sarcophagi were made of lead, and in the Middle Ages, lead was a popular building material. Unfortunately, this means that most of Notre Dame was made of lead, so the cathedral fire also vomited poisonous garbage in Paris.

According to the Ministry of Culture, tombs, a sarcophagus and carvings were found in the center of Notre Dame’s floor, where the church’s transept crosses its nave.. sculptures depicted hands, vegetables and a bust of a bearded man. Traces of paint were visible on some items. Based on their location within the church, archaeologists believe the carvings were part of the original church. road (or chorus) screen– a large structure that separates the church altar from the nave.

The spire of Notre Dame plummets.

The collapse of the spire of Notre Dame as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019.
A photo: JOFROY VAN DER HASELT/AFP (Getty Images)

At least one one of the church’s elaborate 13th-century choir screens was saved by firefighters during a fire. But the screen, which, according to archaeologists, the found remains were demolished many centuries ago.

Reuters reported that the tombs are underground. a stone layer dating from the 18th century, although sections of the church floor are from the early 13th century. The foundation stone of the church was founded in 1163 (from Pope Alexander III) and most of the church was completed in the next century, although its iconic, recently collapsed spire was not built until the 19th century (it is the successor to an earlier, crumbling spire).

The future spire will be made from the same materials as before, according to friends of Notre Dame de Paris, a charitable organization formed to raise funds for the restoration of the cathedral. The archaeological team has until March 25 to complete the excavations. works, before reconstruction Cathedral reopens. Notre Dame is expected to reopen in 2024.

Read more: The National Museum of Brazil is engulfed in flames, a huge cultural and scientific collection is destroyed

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