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    Ancient tombs and sarcophagus unearthed beneath Paris’ Notre Dame

    Archaeologists discover burial sites “of remarkable scientific quality” below the fire-damaged cathedral

    Notre Dame

    Ancient tombs and sarcophagus unearthed beneath Paris’ Notre Dame

    Archaeologists discover burial sites “of remarkable scientific quality” below the fire-damaged cathedral

    AFP in Paris

    Tue 15 Mar 2022 18.49 GMT

    Several tombs and a leaden sarcophagus likely dating from the 14th century have been uncovered by archaeologists at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as work continues on the building’s reconstruction after its devastating 2019 fire.

    The burial sites “of remarkable scientific quality” were unearthed during preparatory work for rebuilding the ancient church’s spire at the central spot where the transept crosses the nave, France’s culture ministry announced late Monday.

    Among the tombs was a “completely preserved, human-shaped sarcophagus made of lead”.

    It is thought the coffin was made for a senior dignitary in the 1300s – the century after the cathedral’s construction.

    A photo shows antique objects found by archaeologists in the floor of Notre Dame cathedral. Photograph: Julien de Rosa/AFP/Getty Images

    As well as the tombs, elements of painted sculptures were found just beneath the current floor level of the cathedral, identified as parts of the original 13th-century rood screen – an architectural element separating the altar area from the nave.

    During a visit by AFP on Tuesday, archaeologists were delicately cleaning and excavating the sculptures, including a pair of carved hands.

    The bust of a bearded man and some sculpted vegetables, with traces of paint still visible, had been removed.

    The team has already used a mini endoscopic camera to peek inside the sarcophagus, which appeared to have been warped by the weight of the earth and stones.

    A picture shows a 14th century lead sarcophagus discovered in the floor of Notre Dame. Photograph: Julien de Rosa/AFP/Getty Images

    “You can glimpse pieces of fabric, hair and a pillow of leaves on top of the head, a well known phenomenon when religious leaders were buried,” said Christophe Besnier, the lead archaeologist.

    “The fact that these plant elements are still inside means the body is in a very good state of conservation,” he added.

    Its discovery will help improve our understanding of funeral practices in the middle ages, added Dominique Garcia of the National Institute of Archaeological Research.

    Notre Dame restoration ready to start as safety work completed

    Read more

    The discoveries were made as reconstruction teams checked the stability of the ground, ahead of installing scaffolding to rebuild the spire.

    In the process, they discovered an underground heating system from the 19th century, with the sarcophagus lying among its brick pipes.

    Despite the excitement of the find, the clock is ticking for the archaeologists.

    They have been given until 25 March to finish their work before the reconstruction project resumes, in order to keep to a planned reopening of the cathedral in 2024.

    Topics Notre Dame Archaeology Paris France Europe Reuse this content

    Source : www.theguardian.com

    Notre

    Notre-Dame de Paris fire

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    Notre-Dame de Paris fire

    Notre-Dame de Paris as seen from Quai de Montebello, with the spire aflame

    Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Notre-Dame Cathedral (Paris)

    Date 15 April 2019; 2 years ago

    Time 18:20 CEST (16:20 UTC)

    Duration 15 hours[1]

    Venue Notre-Dame Cathedral

    Location Paris

    Coordinates 48°51′11″N 2°21′00″E / 48.8530°N 2.3500°E

    Coordinates: 48°51′11″N 2°21′00″E / 48.8530°N 2.3500°E

    Cause Accidental Deaths 0[2]

    Non-fatal injuries 3[3][4]

    Property damage Roof and spire destroyed; windows and vaulted ceilings damaged

    On 15 April 2019, just before 18:20 CEST, the Notre-Dame de Paris fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. By the time the structure fire was extinguished the building's spire had collapsed, most of its roof had been destroyed and its upper walls were severely damaged. Extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed. Many works of art and religious relics were moved to safety early in the emergency, but others suffered smoke damage, and some of the exterior art was damaged or destroyed. The cathedral's altar, two pipe organs, and three 13th-century rose windows suffered little or no damage. Three emergency workers were injured. The fire resulted in the contamination of the site and nearby areas of the city with toxic dust and lead.[5]

    French president Emmanuel Macron said that the cathedral would be restored by 2024,[6] and launched a fundraising campaign which brought in pledges of over €1 billion as of 22 April 2019. A complete restoration could require twenty years or more.[]

    On 25 December 2019, the cathedral did not host Christmas Mass for the first time since 1803.[7]

    Contents

    1 Background 2 Fire 2.1 Firefighting 2.2 Damage

    2.2.1 Environmental damage

    2.3 Reactions 3 Investigation 4 Reconstruction 4.1 Fundraising 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 External links

    Background[edit]

    The Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris"), part of the "Paris, Banks of the Seine" UNESCO World Heritage Site,[8] was begun in the 12th century. Its walls and interior vaulted ceiling are of stone; its roof and flèche (spire) were of wood (much of it 13th-century oak),[9][10] sheathed in lead[11] to exclude water. The spire was rebuilt several times, most recently in the 19th century.[12][13]

    The cathedral's stonework has been severely eroded by years of weather and pollution,[14] and the spire had extensively rotted because fissures in its lead sheathing were admitting water.[15] The roof timbers were dry, spongy and powdery with age.[16] In 2014, the Ministry of Culture estimated needed renovations at €150 million, and in 2016 the Archdiocese of Paris launched an appeal to raise €100 million over the following five to ten years. At the time of the fire, the spire was undergoing restoration[14][17][18] and scaffolding was being erected over the transept.[19][20]

    Extensive attention had been given to the risk of fire at the cathedral. The Paris Fire Brigade drilled regularly to prepare for emergencies there, including on-site exercises in 2018; a firefighter was posted to the cathedral each day; and fire wardens checked conditions beneath the roof three times daily.[21]

    Structural elements relevant to the fire

    Timber in reds, stone in blues. Left: tower, with framework and bells; centre (top to bottom, with spire shown behind): lead roof, timber roof trusses, stone ceiling vault, nave; right: exterior walls and flying buttresses. ()

    Interior of nave showing rib vaulting; in walls are clerestory windows (top), arches to triforium (middle), and arches to side aisles (bottom).

    Underside of rib vaulting, whose thrust outward onto the walls is countered by the inward thrust of the flying buttresses. If the vaulting had collapsed, the walls could have collapsed into the nave.

    Timber roof framing; vaulted ceiling lies below walkways

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Ancient sarcophagus found under Notre Dame cathedral

    The famous 12th century cathedral in Paris is currently being rebuild after it was gutted by a massive inferno in April 2019.

    Ancient tombs and a leaden sarcophagus dating back to the 14th century are uncovered at Paris' Notre Dame during work to rebuild the cathedral following damage from the 2019 fire

    Ancient tombs and leaden sarcophagus have been found under Notre Dame cathedral during renovation workThe famous 12th century building in Paris is being rebuilt after it was gutted during a massive fire back in 2019Excavation works were commissioned as a precaution before installation of scaffolding needed to repair roofArchaeologists said lead sarcophagus probably belonged to high dignitary and may date back to 14th century

    By Sam Tonkin For Mailonline

    Published: 15:10 GMT, 15 March 2022 | Updated: 17:31 GMT, 15 March 2022

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    434 shares

    94 View comments ADVERTISEMENT

    Archaeologists have found ancient tombs and a leaden sarcophagus dating back to the 14th century underneath Notre Dame cathedral, in what has been described as a 'remarkable' discovery.

    They said among the tombs was the 'completely preserved, human-shaped sarcophagus made of lead' for 'a senior dignitary' and likely dated from the 1300s — the century following the famous building's construction.

    The famous 12th century cathedral is currently being rebuilt after it was gutted by a massive inferno in April 2019.

    But prior to the erection of scaffolding needed to restore a 330ft (100-metre) high wooden roof ridge, excavation works were commissioned inside the cathedral as a precautionary measure.

    It turned out to be a shrewd move as archaeologists also discovered a pit immediately below the cathedral floor, which was likely to have been made around 1230 when Notre Dame, one of the oldest examples of French Gothic, was under construction.

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    Archaeologists have found ancient tombs and a leaden sarcophagus (pictured) dating back to the 14th century underneath Notre Dame cathedral, in what has been described as a 'remarkable' discovery

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    These antique objects were found in the floor of Notre Dame cathedral after the discovery of a 14th century lead sarcophagus

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    Archaeologists said among the tombs was the 'completely preserved, human-shaped sarcophagus made of lead' for 'a senior dignitary' and likely dated from the 1300s — the century following the famous building's construction

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    The famous 12th century cathedral is currently being rebuilt after it was gutted by a massive inferno in April 2019 (pictured)

    They hope their discovery will offer a new insight into the history of the building.

    'The floor of the transept crossing has revealed remains of remarkable scientific quality,' France's Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot said, adding that excavation works have been extended until March 25.

    The excavation site lies under a stony layer that dates from the 18th century, but some lower levels go back as far as the 14th, and some even the early 13th century, the country's culture ministry said.

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    Christophe Besnier, from France's National Archaeological Institute, said: 'We were able to send a small camera inside which showed cloth remains, organic matter such as hair and plant remains.

    'The fact that these plants are still there indicates that the contents have been very well preserved.'

    Archaeologists said the lead sarcophagus probably belonged to a high dignitary and could date back to the 14th century, which – if confirmed – would make it a spectacular find.

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    Prior to the erection of scaffolding needed to restore a 330ft (100-metre) high wooden roof ridge, excavation works were commissioned inside the cathedral as a precautionary measure

    Copy link to paste in your message

    It turned out to be a shrewd move as archaeologists also discovered a pit immediately below the cathedral floor, which was likely to have been made around 1230 when Notre Dame, one of the oldest examples of French Gothic, was under construction

    Source : www.dailymail.co.uk

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