PARIS, France (PIX11) — 200 skeletons were found underneath a French supermarket Monoprix in an ancient mass grave.
France 24 reports that during a redevelopment for French supermarket Monoprix on Rue Sebastopol, workers came across a shockingly grisly discovery.
200 skeletons of men, women and children were laid neatly, head to toe, in eight different mass grave pits. Each pit held between eight and 20 bodies, except for the last one, which held around 150. Researchers also found pieces of medieval ceramics alongside the skeleton. Experts say they expect to find even more as they continue excavating.
A medieval hospital called Hôpital de la Trinité operated out of the same location as the Monoprix store from about 1100 to 1600. In the 1700s, the hospital was torn down and bodies were to be transported to the Paris catacombs with 6 million others.
Though their cause of death remains a mystery, experts suspect a widespread, sudden loss of life.
“…there was a major mortality crisis,” said Isabelle Abadie, who is leading the excavation. “The crisis may have resulted from an epidemic, famine, or extreme fever.” France did suffer from several waves of plague throughout the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, then smallpox in 17th century.
French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) plan to bring the bodies in for carbon dating and DNA analysis next. After testing, state will determine where their final resting place will be.