Sarcophagus Found Under Notre Dame Cathedral During Dig, After Building Damaged By Fire
Using an endoscopic camera, they have recently been able to peer inside. The camera spotted the tip of a skeleton as well as fabric, a pillow made from leaves, and a couple of other unknown objects. Image | Gilbert Bochenek Wikipedia | CC-BY-3.0
FRANCE - After a devastating inferno tore through the pinnacle and rooftop of the Notre Dame Cathedral in April of 2019, an archeological dig was requested before any repair work started.
The National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research divulged in March of 2022 that it had uncovered a coffin made of lead that has been dated to the 14th century. During the fire, the high ceiling smashed through the floor, revealing a 19th-century heating system and a number of layers beneath that. Included in these newly uncovered layers were the lead coffin, painted figurines, and other items. French archaeologists said on April 14th, 2022 that they would be cracking into the sarcophagus “very soon” according to C/Net. Using an endoscopic camera, they have recently been able to peer inside, according to Phys.org. The camera spotted the tip of a skeleton as well as fabric, a pillow made from leaves, and a couple of other unknown objects. It is possible that carbon dating could be applied to find out the age of the skeleton. Researchers should also be able to ascertain the gender, and health status of the person before death. Scientists with the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research think the sarcophagus may hold the body of a notable leader or church official, due to the fact that they were buried at the Notre Dame Cathedral.
This hypothesis is also supported by carved items that were found, labeled as going to an outdated rood screen, a polished detachment that sat at the head of the church and was constructed in 1230 and was wrecked sometime after the start of the 18th century. Wikipedia defines a Rood Screen as an ornate partition also called choir screen or chancel screen and it would have been between the chancel and the nave. The rood screen would originally have been surmounted by a rood loft carrying the Great Rood, a sculptural representation of the Crucifixion. The word "Rood" is derived from the Saxon word "Rood" or "rode" meaning "Cross." The rood screen is so called because it carried a large figure of the crucified Christ. Christophe Besnier, a noted archaeologist with the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research said during an April 14th press meeting, "If it turns out that it is in fact a sarcophagus from the Middle Ages, we are dealing with an extremely rare burial practice," as quoted by DW. Bresnier said that Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, a 19th-century renovator, and designer of buildings, found caskets made of lead in French places of worship, but that they were more contemporary, being discovered with a burial placard used to label the deceased. Viollet-le-Duc located more items that belong to the rood screen that is now on exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The National Institute for Preventive Archaeology group also found various additional relics as well as a stone carving of a human head that has the likeness of Jesus Christ, and ornamental stone pieces with traces of paint. Bresnier said, "Here, we don't have a funeral plate and, if you look at the period, it's still a hypothesis; it's from the 14th century or a bit later, as quoted by DW. Bresnier also said, "We uncovered all these riches just 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) under the floor slabs... It was completely unexpected. There were exceptional pieces documenting the history of the monument.” Dominique Garcia is the leader of The National Institute for Preventive Archaeology and verified that the analysis would be in observance of French mandates on the handling of human corpses.
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