Mysterious sarcophagus discovered under Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral

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Several burials, including a lead sarcophagus probably from the 14th century, were discovered during archaeological excavations ahead of reconstruction work on the tower of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, the French Ministry of Culture announced on Monday.

These remains are "of remarkable scientific quality", according to the French ministry. They were unearthed at the crossroads of the cathedral transept, partially destroyed by the April 2019 fire.

Sarcophagus "fully preserved"

Among the tombs, "an entirely preserved anthropomorphic lead sarcophagus has been unearthed." It could be "a high dignitary, probably from the fourteenth century", according to the same source.

The operation also revealed, immediately below the current level of the cathedral's pavement, "the existence of a pit in which sculpted polychrome elements identified as belonging to the old screen of Notre-Dame were buried; which is the tribune forming a stone or wooden fence and separating the liturgical choir from the nave, built around 1230 and destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century".

During his work, in the mid-nineteenth century, Viollet-Le-Duc, designer of the needle, had found other fragments of this screen, now exhibited in the Louvre Museum.

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