BArchaeological investigations during the reconstruction of the burned Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, researchers have discovered several previously unknown tombs. The finds are of “remarkable scientific quality,” said the French Ministry of Culture on Monday. Among the tombs was a “completely preserved lead sarcophagus” in which a “high dignitary of the 14th century” was believed to have been buried.
The tombs were discovered at the level of the crossing where the nave and transept of the cathedral cross. Next to the tombs, the archaeologists discovered a “pit” under the cathedral’s current floor covering, in which “multicolored sculptures were buried”. These are part of the old rood screen of Notre-Dame, which was built around 1230 and destroyed in the early 18th century.
This is a partition, often ornate, that separates the clergy’s room from the rest of the nave. Parts of this rood screen were found during the construction of the spire in the 19th century. They are now on display in the Louvre Museum.
Notre-Dame was partially destroyed in a fire in 2019. The stabilization work was completed last autumn. Since then, the actual reconstruction of the medieval building has begun. Hundreds of oak trees were felled for the reconstruction of the roof structure. The reconstruction was delayed due to the corona pandemic. It is now planned to reopen before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
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