Who Is Buried in Charlemagne’s Tomb?

News 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.

MORE TO DISCOVER

Letter from Nigeria

July/August 2024

A West African Kingdom's Roots

Excavations in Benin City reveal a renowned realm’s deep history

Artifacts July/August 2024

Etruscan Oil Lamp

Read Article
Etruscan Hanging Oil Lamp
(Courtesy Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona; © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)

Around the World July/August 2024

TONGA

Read Article
(Phillip Parton/ANU)

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2024

Bronze Age Beads Go Abroad

Read Article

Features July/August 2024

The Assyrian Renaissance

Archaeologists return to Nineveh in northern Iraq, one of the ancient world’s grandest imperial capitals

Read Article
(Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project)