Scientists To Open Mystery Sarcophagus Discovered After Notre Dame Fire

A centuries-old sarcophagus found beneath Paris Notre Dame cathedral will quickly be opened, officers at Frances nationwide archaeological institute, Inrap, mentioned Thursday.

Archeologists found the well-preserved lead sarcophagus about 65 ft beneath the 850-year-old cathedrals flooring final month while doing a precautionary dig throughout preparations to rebuild a part of the enduring French Gothic construction devastated in an April 2019 hearth.

Scientists speculate the coffin may date to the 14th century, which might make the invention extraordinary. It was discovered underneath a mound of earth that contained 14th-century furnishings.

If it seems that it’s in reality a sarcophagus from the Middle Ages, we’re coping with a particularly uncommon burial apply, lead archaeologist Christophe Besnier mentioned.

The 14th-century lead sarcophagus found underneath the ground of the Notre Dame Cathedral, in Paris, is seen on March 15, 2022.

JULIEN DE ROSA through Getty Images

A small digicam inserted into the coffin revealed fabric and hair stays, the higher a part of a skeleton, a pillow of leaves and objects which have but to be recognized.

The Inrap staff additionally discovered a variety of different artifacts, together with a stone sculpture of a mans head, resembling Jesus, and fragments of ornamental stone, a few of which nonetheless have intact paint.

We uncovered all these riches simply 10-15cm underneath the ground slabs, Besnier mentioned. It was fully surprising. There have been distinctive items documenting the historical past of the monument.

The discovery was an emotional second, he mentioned. Suddenly we had a number of hundred items from small fragments to giant blocks together with sculpted palms, ft, faces, architectural decorations and crops. Some of the items have been nonetheless coloured.

France Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot (C, left) visits the Notre Dame Cathedral archaeological research site after the discovery of a 14th-century lead sarcophagus, in Paris, on March 15, 2022.
France Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot (C, left) visits the Notre Dame Cathedral archaeological analysis website after the invention of a 14th-century lead sarcophagus, in Paris, on March 15, 2022.

JULIEN DE ROSA through Getty Images

INRAP told France24 the sarcophagus was fastidiously extracted from the cathedral on Tuesday and will likely be transported to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Toulouse for examination very quickly.

Institute head Dominique Garcia informed the outlet the stays could be dealt with with the utmost respect.

A sarcophagus containing a human physique is just not an archaeological object, Garcia mentioned. These are human stays, and whereas analyzing the sarcophagus and analyzing the physique and different objects inside, we should achieve this with respect.

The stays could also be re-interned at Notre Dame afterward.

Its unclear whether or not the sarcophagus comprises any liquid, just like the forbidden nectar present in some Egyptian stays that hooligans have clamored to devour.

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