Medieval Mass Grave Found In France: Paris’ Find Offers Glimpse Into Medieval Era

May 12, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A medieval mass grave has been found in Paris, France. The discovery of a medieval hospital called Hôpital de la Trinité was made in January and according to experts, it contains more than 300 skeletons.

medieval mass grave found

A medieval mass grave was found during construction work under a Monoprix in Réaumur-Sébastopol in France. The discovery was made in January of this year.

Archeologists found 316 skeletons laid out in neat rows in a communal grave. It is believed that the site was formerly the cemetery of Hôpital de la Trinité that functioned from the 12th to the 17th century and was completely destroyed in the late 18th century.

Pascal Roy, the director of the supermarket on Boulevard Sébastopol, said he thought he would find a handful of remains and was, therefore, surprised to unearth eight mass graves, seven of them contained five to twenty-five individuals.

Roy said:

“We thought that there would be a few bones as it was the site of a cemetery but we didn’t think we would find a communal grave.”

DNA tests will be made to confirm that most of the patients, who were taken to the Hôpital de la Trinité, died of plague or in a famine.

France’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, or Inrap, has a team led by Isabelle Abadie, an anthropologist and archaeologist that has been excavating the skeletons, she stated:

“It could be the plague, it could be a famine, it can be many things at this stage — but there are no traces of trauma, so these aren’t deaths linked to an act of violence or war.”

Abadie added:

“What is surprising is that the bodies were not thrown into the graves but placed there with care. The individuals – men, women and children – were placed head to toe no doubt to save space,”

It appears that all of the bodies were buried around the same time, which implies that the deaths were caused by the plague that struck most European countries during the great epidemic of the late 1340s.

Another reason the team was startled by the medieval mass grave is because most of them had been moved centuries ago. The archeologist added:

“The contents of many medieval cemeteries were transferred into the Paris catacombs in the late 18th century, though some of the remains at this burial site might have been overlooked when the hospital closed during the French Revolution and, in 1812, when it was finally dismantled and the site was covered up by new construction.”

What are your thoughts on this discovery?


Category: News

Comments (6)

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  1. TP MAN 10101 says:

    Wow. Why is it you can never find any helmets or metal objects or clothing other than bones ?

    I know time will decade items to include bones but if Skelton’s are still there and not Dusts, why NOT !

    • julie says:

      They were mostly likely poor, hence the mass grave and not in a private cemetery. Also I believe they were most likely buried in a shroud ( a simple cotton sheet of material) which would of course decompose along with the body after so many years.

    • Tom Q says:

      Bones do decay over time. An example was discovered in the mountains where the Mayans lived. Long story short, the paleontologists were looking for reasons why one particular very wealthy family were all killed at once in the exact same place. Villagers gave descriptions of the family to the scientists. Two sets of infants skeletons were missing.

      Fire also destroys bones completely. If there is a person who is caught in a large destructive fire (burning at more than 3,000 degrees farenheit) which burns to the ground, their skeleton is not recoverable.
      As for the metal, I don’t see why they would be found in a burial site.

  2. oxley says:


  3. Vanessa says:

    Don’t know why but all of sudden I want to visit France and see the amazing architecture and try French cuisine. LoL

  4. Wizard says:

    It’s a sad discovery.

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