Throughout the ensuing reconstruction efforts—which are scheduled for completion, followed by the Cathedral's reopening, in 2024—workers have come across multiple intriguing cultural artifacts.
This includes an approximately 700-year-old sarcophagus unearthed beneath the transept.
The discovery, announced in a March 14, 2022 press release, is owed in part to the fire-induced collapse of the Cathedral’s vaulted ceiling.
The impact of the collapse revealed a nineteenth-century heating system and, below, layers consisting of the sarcophagus and painted sculpture pieces.
The iron, anthropomorphic sarcophagus was found just 3.3 feet (about 1 meter) below the floor and is in remarkably good condition. Archeologists stumbled across it and the surrounding items during excavation work that Notre Dame officials commissioned as a precautionary stage of reconstruction. This particular phase of digging was conducted in preparation for a rebuild of the Cathedral’s fragile spire.