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Notre-Dame Cathedral
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Archaeologists have discovered a mysterious sealed tomb in Paris’s Notre-Dame

It’s thought to contain the remains of a fourteenth-century church official... and lots of evil demons

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

If you came across a spooky-looking, almost-definitely-haunted sarcophagus, would you really want to open it? Probably not, tbh. Wouldn’t want to unleash any evil demons, after all. But that isn’t stopping researchers in Paris, who have just discovered a sealed tomb in the bowels of Notre-Dame cathedral – and now plan to open it.

Following a devastating fire which ripped through the cathedral in April 2019, Notre-Dame is currently undergoing a massive refurb. And during the building work, they’ve found loads of stuff hidden away under its stone flooring, from statues and sculptures to ceramic furniture.

One of those things is a sarcophagus, which was discovered 20 metres beneath the church floor. According to French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot, the tomb is in remarkably good nick – it’s only got a few minor cracks and hasn’t suffered any major structural damage.

So, what’s in there? Well, scientists don’t know for sure, but they’ve already had a sneak peek inside using an endoscopic camera. They’ve identified bits of hair and clothing, and reckon it probably contains the remains of a high-ranking church official from the fourteenth century.  

The next step will see the sarcophagus opened up by researchers at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Toulouse. They’ll use carbon dating technology to figure out more about the mysterious person and any objects contained inside.

At the moment it’s unknown what exactly will happen to the sarcophagus after it’s been examined, though it may be returned to Notre-Dame and re-buried. And as for the cathedral’s refurb? It’s set to be finished in spring 2024, just in time for the Paris Olympics.

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