Workers at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris discover ancient tombs while erecting scaffolding

Workers racing against a tight deadline to reopen the devastated Notre Dame cathedral by Easter 2024 — after it nearly burned down in a fire caused by an electrical short three years ago — have shocked to discover an ancient cemetery with a “completely preserved lead-rounded” human being trying to build scaffolding.

The roof and spire of the historic Paris cathedral were destroyed when a fire swept through the structure in 2019. Since then, more than 1,000 historic oak trees have been cut down to rebuild the ancient roof. But when the workers began the delicate work of rebuilding the ancient spire that had been destroyed by the fire, they encountered a lead coffin while digging a footing hole for the tall scaffolding. necessary to erect a new tower.

According to a statement from the French culture ministry, archaeologists working at the site – as well as actually in France when studying ancient structures – quickly identified the area as a Old cemetery full of tombs. The focus was on the lead sarcophagus, which had buckled under the weight of the church built above it, but was still perfectly sealed.

Using a small endoscopic camera, workers were able to glimpse inside, where they captured what appeared to be a perfect mummy, complete with hair and clothes. Archaeologists here say this may be a high-ranking dignitaries buried in the 1300s, about 100 years after the church was built. “You can see pieces of cloth, hair and a pillow of leaves on the top of the head, a famous phenomenon when religious leaders are buried,” Christophe Besnier, lead archaeologist, told AFP. “The fact that these plant particles are still inside means that the body is in very good condition.”


Julien de Rosa / AFP via Getty Images

The remains of the cemetery have “remarkable scientific quality,” France’s culture ministry said on Tuesday in Paris, where some journalists were allowed access to the site. Dignits and others are buried just below the nave, on which the original spire was built in 1220. The spire was destroyed in a fire that was built in the mid-19th century after the spire. The ancient tower began to rot.

Besides the lead sarcophagus, archaeologists have so far unearthed painted sculptures including a pair of carved hands, vegetables and a bust of an unidentified man. beard. Other artifacts include ruins from the original church, which has been restored many times during its 800 years of existence.


Julien de Rosa / AFP via Getty Images

To stay on track to reopen the church on time, archaeologists from the National Institute of Preventive Archeology have given a deadline of March 25 to remove the artifacts — or bury them. for the next generation to find. Workers at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris discover ancient tombs while erecting scaffolding

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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