Notre-Dame de Paris: a second lead sarcophagus found underneath the cathedral

Published by Graziella L. · Photos by My B. · Published on 2 May 2022 at 10h41
What is happening in the belly of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral? A second lead sarcophagus was found during diggings, in a very good state. Another exceptional discovery!

This past March, the Minister of Culture announced the discovery of huge archeological remnants in the heart of the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, including a lead sarcophagus from the 14th century. Head heritage conservator for the Drac Île-de-France archeology service Dorothée Chaoui-Derieux told Le Parisien another sarcophagus was found in early April, in a great condition.

The belly of the cathedral – that burned in 2019 and under renovation since then – is still full of many mysteries. This archeological digging operation – now done – enabled to discover two lead sarcophaguses beneath the cathedral nave. This is the last day of diggings, before the installation of a scaffolding to rebuild the spire the archeologists “spotted an interstice underneath the stone apron”, where the camera showed another sarcophagus, “in a great condition gypsum vault, set closer to the choir than the first one”, Chaoui-Derieux explains.

While waiting to discover what this new element holds, the first sarcophagus unveiled some of its secrets already. It was sent to the Toulouse medico-legal institute to be opened “by the summer”, but we already know it holds “the skeleton of a high dignitary, a few strands of hair, plants and pieces of fabric”. Once the necessary samples collected, the skeleton will be reburied in Notre-Dame, as asked by the Paris archbishop.

During the digging, between 300 and 400 pieces of jube weighing up to 380 kilograms have been found in a great condition too. “Exceptional discoveries”, the head curator said. The History of the Cathedral is not done surprising us!

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