Human-Formed Sarcophagus Present in Newly Revealed Tombs Beneath The Notre-Dame

A number of tombs and a leaden sarcophagus probably courting from the 14th century have been uncovered by archaeologists at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris following its devastating 2019 fire.


The burial websites “of exceptional scientific high quality” had been unearthed throughout preparatory work for rebuilding the traditional church’s spire on the central spot the place the transept crosses the nave, the culture ministry announced late Monday.

Among the many tombs was the “utterly preserved, human-shaped sarcophagus made from lead”.

(Julien De Rosa/AFP)

It’s thought the coffin was made for a senior dignitary within the 1300s – the century following the cathedral’s building.

In addition to the tombs, parts of painted sculptures had been discovered simply beneath the present ground degree of the cathedral, recognized as elements of the unique Thirteenth-century rood display – an architectural factor separating the altar space from the nave.

Throughout a go to by AFP on Tuesday, archaeologists had been delicately cleansing and excavating the sculptures rising from the bottom, together with a pair of carved palms.

A pair of carved hands coming out of stone. (Julien De Rosa/AFP)

The bust of a bearded man and a few sculpted greens, with traces of paint nonetheless seen, had been eliminated.

The crew has already used a mini endoscopic digital camera to peek contained in the sarcophagus, which seemed to be warped by the load of the earth and stones.


“You’ll be able to glimpse items of material, hair and above all a pillow of leaves on prime of the top, a widely known phenomenon when spiritual leaders had been buried,” mentioned Christophe Besnier, the lead archaeologist.

“The truth that these plant parts are nonetheless inside means the physique is in an excellent state of conservation,” he added.

An aerial picture taken on July 12, 2021 shows a view of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral An aerial view of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in July 2021. (Bertrand Guay/AFP)

Its discovery will assist enhance our understanding of funeral practices within the Center Ages, added Dominique Garcia of the Nationwide Institute of Archaeological Analysis.

The discoveries had been made as reconstruction groups ready to put in large scaffolding to rebuild the spire, and wanted to test the steadiness of the bottom.

Within the course of, they found an underground heating system from the nineteenth century, with the sarcophagus mendacity amongst its brick pipes.

Regardless of the joy of the discover, the clock is ticking for the archaeologists.

They’ve been given till March 25 to complete their work earlier than the reconstruction undertaking resumes – with a purpose to hold to a deliberate reopening of the cathedral in 2024.

© Agence France-Presse


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