Science & Tech

People are begging scientists not to open a mysterious sarcophagus discovered at Notre Dame

People are begging scientists not to open a mysterious sarcophagus discovered at Notre Dame
France: Notre-Dame cathedral slowly reviving three years after fire

French archeologists are planning to open a mysterious sarcophagus discovered in the depths of Notre Dame Cathedral after the 2019 fire - but people really don't want them to.

The mysterious sarcophagus was found last month than three feet (one meter) underground in the 19th-century heating system while workers were conducting preparatory work on the spires, according to a press release from the France Ministry of Culture.

Astonishingly, the lead sarcophagus which is estimated to be from the 14th century, or earlier, is in great condition. Although the weight of earth and stone above the sarcophagus had caused it to warp.

While the discovery is great news for scientists, people are skeptical about the ancient relic - worrying that opening could make a rough year even worse.

"Repeat after me: Do not open the suspiciously appeared lead-lined sarcophagus beckoning us with its mystery! I can't stress enough how every horror piece ever written has explicitly warned us about this," one person on Twitter commented.

A team of archeologists with France's National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) has already taken a look inside with an endoscopic camera revealing "remarkable scientific quality” human remains.

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A perfectly preserved sarcophagus dating back to the 13th or 14th century was found underneath the Notre Dame Cathedral JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

“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,” Christophe Besnier, the lead archaeologist told AFP. “The fact that these plant elements are still inside means the body is in a very good state of conservation.”

Along with the sarcophagus, scientists discovered parts of painted sculptures, the bust of an unknown bearded man, sculpted vegetables, a pair of carved hands, and more.

Although it seems the opposition will not be enough to keep the lead sarcophagus shut.

Dominique Garcia of the National Institute of Archaeological Research said the findings from the sarcophagus could "help improve our understanding of funeral practices in the middle ages."

Archeologists were given until the end of March to finish their work to keep the Cathedral's reconstruction on schedule.

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