Fire that engulfed Notre Dame cathedral exposes long-hidden secret inside Paris landmark

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The the hearth that engulfed Notre-Dame 4 years in the past has revealed a long-hidden secret concerning the Paris landmark: it was the primary Gothic cathedral during which iron staples had been used extensively all through building.

It took close to destruction and a large restoration challenge which remains to be in progress for a group of archaeologists to find the iron reinforcements.

The building of the well-known cathedral within the coronary heart of the French capital started in 1160 and was not accomplished till virtually a century later.

It was the tallest constructing of its time, with vaults reaching as much as 105 toes, in line with a examine. published in the journal PLOS ONE on wednesday.

“Notre-Dame is now unquestionably the first known Gothic cathedral where iron was massively used to bind stones as a proper construction material,” the examine concludes.

Maxime L’Heritier, an archaeologist at University Paris 8 and the examine’s lead creator, instructed AFP that some parts of the constructing’s building remained unknown, even in spite of everything these centuries.

It was not clear how the builders “dared — and succeeded — in putting up such thin walls to such a height,” he stated.


Lacking a lot documentation from greater than 900 years in the past, “only the monument can speak” about its building, he added.

The blaze on April 15, 2019, uncovered iron staples used to carry the cathedral’s stone blocks collectively. Some appeared within the body of the constructing, others fell smoldering to the bottom within the warmth of the blaze.

The cathedral might be riddled with greater than a thousand iron staples, the examine stated.

There are staples of various sizes, starting from 10 to twenty inches lengthy, some weighing up to some kilos.

They had been present in many various components of the cathedral, together with within the partitions of the nave, the choir tribunes and in components of the cornice.

“This is the first truly massive use of iron in a Gothic cathedral, in very specific places,” stated L’Heritier.

Iron staples have been utilized in building since Antiquity, together with in Rome’s Colosseum and Greek temples.

But in these instances they had been merely used to maintain giant stone blocks safe on the decrease flooring.

Notre-Dame has a “much more dynamic conception of architecture,” L’Heritier stated.

From the very starting, the builders used the iron staples to make the cathedral’s stands within the early 1160s. Their successors continued their progressive use on the higher components of the partitions over the subsequent 50 to 60 years.


Iron would go on for use on this approach in quite a few cathedrals throughout France.

More than 200 scientists are engaged on restoring Notre-Dame, whose iconic spire is predicted to be again in place by the top of this yr.

The reconstruction challenge is on monitor to be accomplished by the top of subsequent yrin line with the Paris Tourist Office official website,

This means the vacationer landmark, which beforehand noticed 12 million annual guests, is not going to be open when Paris hosts the Olympic Games in July and August 2024.

Several tombs and a leaden sarcophagus in all probability courting from the 14th century have additionally been uncovered by archaeologists on the cathedral, France’s tradition ministry stated final yr.


In December 2021, CBS News visited one of many French forests the place they had been choosing among the 1,000 oak bushes — at the least a century previous — for the spire and transept. Read the complete report right here,

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