In France, what has been described as the most important archaeological discovery in recent years has been uncovered during reconstruction work on a Paris bank.
In France, what has been described as the most important archaeological discovery in recent years has been uncovered during reconstruction work on a Paris bank. A total of 157 pieces dating from the late 12th and early 13 centuries were unearthed from beneath the building. Twenty of them are large heads from gothic statues. There is also one medium sized head, five smaller ones and about ten fragments from column statues. They have been authenticated by the Director of Historical Antiquities of Paris, Michel Fleury, as originating from the "Gallery of Kings" in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Positive identification of the discovery was possible because one of the statues -- showing a person wearing medieval clothes and holding a book to his chest -- is reproduced exactly in a drawing by a museum director working during the French revolution who catalogued items from Notre Dame.
SYNOPSIS: Overall, Notre Dame looks much the same today as it did when it was built in the 12th century. But during the French revolution royalist monuments from around the main entrance were removed, broken up and the remains sold as material for construction work on new buildings. But, as bank director Francois Giscard d'Estaing -- a cousin of the French president -- explains, some fell into pious hands.
Eventually they will probably find their way back there -- on permanent exhibition in the crypt.