The French Ministry of Culture said that the artifacts discovered during preparations for the reconstruction of the cathedral’s old tower are of “remarkable scientific quality”.
Among the graves, the ministry added, “a fully preserved lead anthropomorphic sarcophagus” that may have belonged to “a distinguished figure, probably from the fourteenth century” has been removed.
In the cathedral’s structure, a “moat where polychrome carved elements were deposited” was discovered for an ancient high choir (a stone or wooden structure separating the sanctuary from the rest of the church) built around 1230 and initially destroyed in the 18th century.
The excavation site lies under a layer of stone dating back to the 18th century, but some of the lower levels date to the 14th century, and some to the early 13th century, according to the Ministry of Culture.
Dominic Garcia, head of the National Institute for Archaeological Research, explained that “the discovery of this sarcophagus will allow us to better understand the funerary practices and rituals” of the Middle Ages.
These are not the first human remains to be found in Notre Dame, which since its inception has been a cemetery for cathedral officials and religious figures.
During the investigation, archaeologists managed to insert a miniature room with an endoscope inside the sarcophagus, which showed unexpected results. “We were able to see remnants of tissue, hair and above all a pillow of foliage over the head, a well-known phenomenon” when religious clerics were buried, explained Christophe Besnier, the archaeologist in charge of the excavation.
“The fact that these plants are still present indoors shows a priori He added that the preservation condition “very good” of the body.
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