History | Society

Remains Of People Killed In French Revolution Found Behind Chapel Wall In Paris

Mayukh Bari05 July 2020 11:37AM IST
2 min read223

Aymeric Peniguet de Stoutz, an administrator of the Expiatoire chapel in Paris and an avid historian found the human remains of around 500 people in a wall of the chapel. This is one of the largest mass graves found in this century. Stoutz began his investigation into the remains in 2018, by researching historical documents and using his findings to organise archaeological excavations. He use specialized devices and cameras to pinpoint the location. This is the final resting place of 500 people who were killed by guillotine.

He believes the remains belong to those who were executed during 'the Reign of Terror', when a series of massacres and public executions were performed on those accused of treason, including King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette. The king and the queen were caught attempting to escape France during the Revolution in 1793. They were also executed by guillotine.

During 1789 and 1794 many influential figures of France were sentenced to death. Maximilien Robespierre who was on the side of revolution was also ironically executed by guillotine. His remains could be among those discovered in the chapel. Row after row of human remains piled up high, with hundreds of skulls lined up next to one another. Most if them were decapitated at Place de la Concorde between January 21, 1793 and July 28, 1794.

Previously historians used to believe that they were buried in the Catacombs. But this new discovery uncovers the ultimate truth. Stoutz was helped by archaeologist Philippe Carlier in this operation. The pair discovered the skeletons, as well as several leather chests also said to contain remains, by passing a camera through the joints between the stones on the walls of the chapel.

Stoutz and Philippe also requested the Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs (DRAC) to continue additional excavations to confirm his discoveries. Propably in 2021 they will start further investigation with hope to uncover more interesting facts about the history of France.