Three years after the devastating fire that ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, archeologists have uncovered a mysterious leaden sarcophagus discovered in its bowels, and they’re planning to open it up. Sure. Why not? Historic unrest, global pandemic, unprecedented divisiveness, a world on the fast track towards being unlivable, might as well throw what sure sounds like an ancient curse into the mix. It’s not like things could get much crazier out there.
Workers stumbled across the sarcophagus buried under a meter of earth while attempting to lay some new piping as part of the Cathedral’s post-blaze renovation project. It was found underneath bricks that had been there since the 19th century, but archeologists believe it’s been there for centuries longer and might date as far back as the 14th century. A prime era for ancient curses if ever there was one.
So what’s inside? The leaden exterior makes it difficult for archeologists to tell, which sure makes it sound like a warning that whatever (or whoever) is shut up inside that thing is supposed to stay there. An endoscopic camera found a skeleton (of course), a pillow of leaves (sure), some sort of fabric (nothing suspicious there) and some “as-yet unidentified objects” (noooope). Lead archaeologist Christophe Besnier was cautious about saying too much until his team had done more research, but said that “if it turns out that it is in fact a sarcophagus from the Middle Ages, we are dealing with an extremely rare burial practice.”
Whatever happens next, there are certain codes of ethics around exhuming such remains, no matter how ancient or interesting to archeologists. French laws are in place that require archeologists to treat ancient corpses with respect, and not like “objects.” Hopefully that will come as a relief to whatever dark magic is contained within.