Archaeology Magazine

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Who Is Buried in Charlemagne’s Tomb?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Charlamagne Sarcophagus Aachen(Krischnig, Public Domain)AACHEN, GERMANY—Bones and bone fragments from Charlemagne’s gilded sarcophagus in Aachen Cathedral belonged to a tall, thin, older man, according to a team of scientists that began studying the bones in 1988. They announced their results this week, 1,200 years after Charlemagne’s death. “Thanks to the results from 1988 up until today, we can say with great likelihood that we are dealing with the skeleton of Charlemagne,” said Frank Rühli of the University of Zurich. The skeleton also showed signs of injuries to a kneecap and heel bones. Medieval biographer Einhard the Frank claimed that the king walked with a limp in his old age. No clues to his cause of death were found.