1,000-year-old “exceptionally majestic” medieval church and 70 ancient burials discovered in Germany

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A team of archaeologists discovered near the German city 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, Holy Roman Emperor, and 70 ancient tombs dating from the 10th to the 15th century.

According 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, have revealed the foundations of a basilica approximately 30 meters long by 20 meters wide, made up of three naves divided into six main sections. Among the relics recovered from the site are a Romanesque enamel 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 various periods ranging from the 10th to the 15th century. The quality and quantity of coins, luxurious inlaid brooches, ceramic fragments, traditional costumes, among other goods, 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 allow a glimpse of the splendor of the building.” “It is a magnificent and exceptionally large church, which shows the importance of this place at the time […] Otto effectively built a church that resembles a miniature cathedral, “said Felix Biermann, site director.

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The ‘little cathedral’, consecrated to Saint Radegunde, Frankish princess during the 6th century and founder of the Abbey of the Holy Cross in Poitiers, in France, was an important place of worship during more than 500 years, until it was demolished after the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517, which would forever change religious practices and attitudes throughout Europe.

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