The lead sarcophagus beneath Notre Dame

We all know that three years ago a cultural symbol of the world was destroyed. On April 15, 2019 a heavy fire damaged the roof structure of the iconic French church of Notre Dame. Due to these, reconstruction works started and are expected to be finished before 2024. In the meantime, something happened. A find under the rubble. What was found? The lead sarcophagus under Notre Dame.

The lead sarcophagus under Notre Dame is one of the archaeological pieces found.
The lead sarcophagus under Notre Dame is one of the archaeological pieces found.

Mysterious sarcophagus

The reconstruction works of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris allowed the discovery of several archaeological remains. One of these is this curious coffin. It is made of lead and is a mystery.

As part of the restoration work, a 100 meter high scaffolding was erected. It was placed at the crossing of the transept with the nave of the temple to reinstall the church spire. And in that place is where the archaeological pieces were found.

The lead sarcophagus under Notre Dame stands out among these. It would have been buried during the 14th century, without it being clear to whom it belonged.

“You can glimpse bits of fabric, hair and especially a pillow of leaves on top of the head. It’s a fairly well-known phenomenon,” stated Christopher Besnier. He is archaeologist in charge of the excavation.

There are many other pieces found there.
There are many other pieces found there.

Remarkable person

Although studies are still lacking to know exactly to whom the sarcophagus belonged. It is estimated that it was a high ecclesiastical official. In this area they used to bury this type of personages.

In addition to the sarcophagus, the remains of some carved hands were also found, in the form of a prayer. In addition, there was the bust of a bearded man AND sculpted vegetables with remains of the paint with which they were created.

“It is a great emotion. This cathedral represents the entire history of Paris. To stand before these vestiges is extremely impressive,” declared Roselyne Bachelot, France’s Minister of Culture.

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