1000-year-old “exceptionally majestic” medieval church and 70 ancient burials unearthed in Germany
A team of archaeologists have discovered near the German town of Eisleben, in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, the remains of an “exceptionally majestic” medieval church built in the second half of the 10th century by Otto I, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire, and 70 ancient tombs dating from the 10th to the 15th century.
According to reported authorities, the remains of the ancient temple, founded near the year 968, were found during a series of excavations carried out in the Royal Palace of Helfta, one of the residences of Otto I, nicknamed ‘the Great’, King of Germany from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973.
Investigations at the site, which began in May, revealed the foundations of a basilica about 30 meters long by 20 meters wide, consisting of three naves divided into six main sections. Among the relics recovered from the site are a Romanesque enamelled bronze crucifix, made in the 13th century, and the large fragment of a church bell.
In addition, inside the church and on its perimeter they found 70 graves belonging to different periods from the 10th to the 15th century. The quality and quantity of the coins, the luxurious inlaid brooches, the ceramic fragments, the traditional costumes, among others, suggest that it was the place chosen by the aristocracy of the region to bury their dead.
Despite the fact that the building was demolished centuries ago, the authorities detailed, “the excavation pits and the remains of the foundations, as well as the relics of the furniture, still hint at the splendor of the building”. “It is a magnificent and exceptionally large church, which shows the importance of this place at the time. […] Otto actually built a church that looks like a miniature cathedral, ”said Felix Biermann, site director.
The “little cathedral”, dedicated to Saint Radegonde, Frankish princess in the 6th century and founder of the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Poitiers, France, was an important place of worship during over 500 years, until it was demolished after the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517, which would forever change religious practices and attitudes across Europe.
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