What lies beneath a supermarket in Paris

I use the word fascinating a lot on this blog. So much in fact, I consulted the online thesaurus to attempt to find better synonyms of the word.

So to describe the archaeology find recently unearthed by INRAP archaeologists in Paris, France, I will use words such as captivating, intriguing, and riveting.  The New York Times used the term “grisly” but that’s a little macabre and sensational to me.

But I digress…

Beneath a supermarket in the 2nd arrondissemont in central Paris, archaeologists are working to excavate the remains of hundreds of individuals who were originally buried there in Medieval times when the site was home to the Hôpital de la Trinité.  According to the article, the site “was the first medieval hospital setting to be excavated in Paris.”

This find is significant in that most burial sites dating from that time period were dismantled in the late 18th century and the remains were relocated to the catacombs beneath the city.  To find a burial ground of this size and complexity in modern-day Paris is, well, a really big deal.

Based on initial exams, the remains exhibit an excellent cross section of the Medieval Parisian population; young and old, male and female.  Most did not die as the result of major trauma, and research is ongoing to learn more about these individuals.  Researchers think some might have been victims of an epidemic that hit the city in the 1340s.  Through DNA testing and carbon dating, INRAP hopes to be able to learn much more about these people, their lives, and live in Paris during the 14th century.  Fascinating stuff, indeed.



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