The public institution in charge of the conservation and restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris (EPRNDP), builder of the site, carried out a preventive archaeological excavation operation that uncovered fragments of the old screen and revealed a lead sarcophagus probably dating from the 14th centurye century.
Upstream of the construction of the scaffolding necessary for the reconstruction of the spire, a preventive archaeology excavation was prescribed by the DRAC Île-de-France (Regional Archaeology Service) at the crossing of the transept of the cathedral. The excavation, which began on 2 February 2022, is being carried out by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). In consultation with the DRAC and INRAP, the public establishment has made it possible to continue these excavations until 25 March, in order to fully exploit their potential.
Although already begun by the work of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc in XIXe In the course of the excavation, the floor of the transept crossing revealed remains of remarkable scientific quality, especially in the case of the brick heating logs exposed.
The entire right-of-way is covered by a stone floor, dated no later than XVIIIe century. It includes many burials and is based on levels of occupation dating from the XIVe century, which are installed on soils that can date back to the beginning of the XIIIe century.
Among the graves uncovered, a fully preserved anthropomorphic sarcophagus made of lead was uncovered. The first analysis of the furniture contained in the level of fill surmounting it could lead to date this burial at the latest of the XIVe century. Considering the characteristics and location of the sarcophagus, the hypothesis of a burial of a high dignitary seems probable.
Finally, this operation also highlighted, immediately below the current level of paving of the cathedral, the existence of a pit in which were buried polychrome sculpted elements identified as belonging to the old jubé of Notre-DameLady, built around 1230 and destroyed at the beginning of the XVIIIe century. During his work in the middle of the XIXe Viollet-le-Duc had found other fragments belonging to this screen, which is now on display at the Louvre Museum. It is therefore a discovery of the greatest interest, likely to bring new data on this screen and on the quality of its painted decoration.
The Minister of Culture and Army General Jean-Louis Georgelin, president of the public establishment, are delighted with these discoveries which will enrich our understanding of the history of Notre-Dame de Paris.