It’s almost as if a film plot has come to life, but it couldn’t be more real. In 2019 a fire broke out in the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Despite extensive damage to the historic building, rebuilding efforts commenced, in part thanks to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. But amidst the debris, a mysterious lead sarcophagus was found, the contents of which are unknown. What could be inside, and what curse could be placed upon it that will affect those in search of answers?
Well obviously the last part of that paragraph is a stretch, but the rest of it is completely true. The almost 700-years-old lead sarcophagus was found nearly 65 feet underground among the 19th century heating system pipes. It was not part of the previously discovered burial site inside the cathedral. This location is unique, as your usual run-of-the-mill saints and notable persons buried in churches are usually not found so deep. [Editor’s note: Also…it’s a lead sarcophagus??? Vampires?! Demons?! What is it!]
That being said, it’s suspected to be much older, but scientists will need to work on carbon dating in order to confirm this.
A sarcophagus is essentially a kind of coffin, generally made of stone, and adorned with some sort of decorative ornamentation and/or carvings. Because it’s the presumed resting site of a dead body, this discovery is not the same as finding an ancient artifact. French laws consider this the discovery of human remains, and it therefore has to be treated as such. As for how they know it contains a body? Well, despite not having opened the stone construct, an endoscopic procedure was conducted on it with a camera to examine the contents.
The sarcophagus was removed from the in-construction cathedral on April 12th, 2022 and will eventually be sent to the French Institute of Forensic Medicine in Toulouse. Exactly where the stone coffin will be entombed afterwards is still under discussion. One can only hope its returned to the proper place, lest the curse of the mummy doom us all.
While it might not be enough to consider this a silver lining to the fire that devastated Notre-Dame, it is a potentially fascinating opportunity to catch a glimpse into the past. Unless of course, again, it unleashes some sort of malevolent force that aims to destroy humanity and reshape the world in its own, twisted image.
Where’s the French equivalent of Brendan Fraser when you need him?