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Archaeology & History

Aftermath of Notre Dame fire continues to reveal its secrets

By T.K. Randall
March 20, 2023 · Comment icon 7 comments

Notre Dame photographed before the fire. Image Credit: PD - Tom S
The fire that tore through the iconic Parisian landmark was undoubtedly devastating, but there has been a silver lining.
When the news broke that Notre Dame had become shrouded in flames back in 2019, countries around the world united in expressing their sadness and dismay.

Fortunately, through the fearless efforts of the city's firefighters, the historic building was eventually saved, however the damage caused by the fire will still take many years to repair.

On the plus side, archaeologists working to help restore the building have been making some interesting discoveries on the grounds, such as the unearthing last year of several tombs dating back to the 14th-Century that were found beneath the cathedral's spire.
Now researchers have made another discovery - this time in the actual walls of the building itself.

It turns out that the builders of Notre Dame had used thousands of large iron staples to help strengthen the stonework, thus making the height of the iconic cathedral possible.

These iron fixtures are now thought to predate the other earliest known examples.

"Notre Dame is now unquestionably the first known Gothic cathedral where iron was massively used to bind stones as a proper construction material," archaeologists wrote.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pellinore 1 year ago
Interesting, but maybe a high-risk technique? If the iron rusted it could cause the stone to split, though perhaps the stones were too massive. It sometimes causes stone mullioned windows to fail. The same stapling method was used here:Metal staples in the construction of the central building of the Belvoir fortress (Kokhav Ha Yarden, Israel) (
Comment icon #2 Posted by Ell 1 year ago
Comment icon #3 Posted by Cho Jinn 1 year ago
If only they’d let us know who started the fire…
Comment icon #4 Posted by C L Palmer 1 year ago
What I'm afraid of is how modern Parisians will build the cathedral back. Will it be a monument to God, or a monument to the current sociopolitical zeitgeist?
Comment icon #5 Posted by jmccr8 1 year ago
Hi C L I would think that like most restorations it will be to brought back to it’s original state.
Comment icon #6 Posted by SHaYap 1 year ago
Cue, the one and only Lucy Worsley... It is all coming back together famously ... Unless the French themselves decides to burn it down again  ~    
Comment icon #7 Posted by C L Palmer 1 year ago
I certainly hope so. I simply fear that like many things in modern society it will be imbued with some divisive political message.

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