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Remains of 500 people executed by guillotine may be buried in walls of listed Paris monument

Remains of 500 people executed by guillotine in French Revolution may be buried in walls of listed Paris monument

  • Bones fragments were discovered in the walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire, Paris
  • It is a classified monument dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
  • Archeologist examined the walls and said there was earth mixed with bone fragments

The remains of up to 500 people executed by guillotine in the French Revolution could be buried in the walls of a Paris monument, experts believe.  

Bone fragments were discovered in the walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire which is a classified monument in Paris. 

Archeologist Philippe Charlier examined the monument’s walls with a small camera inserted through the stones, The Guardian reported. He said there was earth mixed with bone fragments.  

Researchers will examine the walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire as experts believe the remains of up to 500 people executed by guillotine in the French Revolution could be buried in its walls

The monument is dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who were executed at the Place de la Révolution before being formally buried at the Basilica of St Denis. 

French authorities called in an archeologist, who inserted a camera through the stones in the walls, so they didn’t damage the building’s foundations. 

The chapel’s administrator Aymeric Peniguet de Stoutz had noticed anomalies in the walls between the columns of the lower chapel.   

Archeologist Charlier said the lower chapel had four ossuaries — chests or boxes — made of wooden boxes, which are filled with bones and were probably stretched out with leather. 

The monument is dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. King Louis XVI was executed in the Place de la Révolution in 1793 (pictured)

The monument is dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. King Louis XVI was executed in the Place de la Révolution in 1793 (pictured)

The Chapelle Expiatoire is a chapel in the 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Grand Boulevards on the site of the old Madeleine cemetery

The Chapelle Expiatoire is a chapel in the 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Grand Boulevards on the site of the old Madeleine cemetery

Peniguet de Stoutz has requested further research at the building.  

Founded in 1816, the Chapelle Expiatoire is a chapel in the 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Grand Boulevards on the site of the old Madeleine cemetery. 

The Madeleine cemetery was closed in 1794 when it reportedly run out of space.  

Historians believed the remains of 500 victims buried in the cemetery were eventually transferred to catacombs under the city. 

The monument was built not far from a site where the guillotine was frequently used — the Place de la Révolution.  

French authorities called in an archeologist, who inserted a camera through the stones in the walls, so they didn't damage the building's foundations

French authorities called in an archeologist, who inserted a camera through the stones in the walls, so they didn’t damage the building’s foundations

King Louis XVI was executed at the Place de la Révolution on January 21, 1793. Marie Antoinette, the final Queen before the French Revolution, was also executed there. 

Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had been buried in Madeleine cemetery before Louis XVIII ordered their remains to be buried in the Basilica of St Denis when he became king in 1814.  

Physician and opponent of the death penalty Joseph-Ignace Guillotin said capital punishment should always be decapitation and sought to introduce a humane way to carry out executions. 

He proposed to the National Assembly on October 10, 1789, that this should be done by means of a simple mechanism. 

The National Assembly started to look into a new method of capital punishment in 1791 with the aim of ending life without inflicting unnecessary pain. 

The guillotine was deemed successful because it was considered a humane form of execution.  

The history of the guillotine in France 

Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was an opponent of the death penalty and wanted to find a way to carry out humane executions

Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was an opponent of the death penalty and wanted to find a way to carry out humane executions

Physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin said capital punishment should always be decapitation. 

On October 10, 1789, he proposed to the National Assembly that this should be done by means of a simple mechanism. 

Guillotin was an opponent of the death penalty and wanted to find a device to carry out humane executions. 

He was displeased with common, gruesome methods of execution and wanted to convince King Louis XVI to implement a less painful alternative.  

The National Assembly started to look into a new method of capital punishment in 1791 which would end life without inflicting unnecessary pain.   

The machine the Assembly designed was deemed successful because it was considered a humane form of execution.

The device consisted of two upright posts which were connected by a crossbeam and grooved to guide the knife according to Britannica. 

The back off the oblique-edged knife was heavily weighted. This was designed to make it fall forcefully upon the neck of a prone victim and slice through it.  

Before the guillotine was invented, a sword or an axe was used for members of the nobility. This meant it often took two or three blows to kill. Others were hanged. 

The guillotine was to become the one method of civil execution, no matter the class of the condemned, which was also seen as an expression of equality. 

It was the main legal method of civil execution until the death penalty was abolished in October, 1981, after it was last used in France in 1977. 

The guillotine became the one method of civil execution for both nobility and commoners, which was seen as an expression of equality

The guillotine became the one method of civil execution for both nobility and commoners, which was seen as an expression of equality

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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