Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Wed March 04 2015

Amazing French Discovery: Paris Store Sits Above Mass Grave

Entertainment | Gabe Zaldivar | March 04, 2015

Amazing French Discovery: Paris Store Sits Above Mass Grave

Image via Twitter 

Strange things are afoot at the Boulevard Sebastopol Monoprix store.

The Guardian’s Kim Willsher reports on the excavation of some 200 skeletons taking place right underneath Parisian shoppers picking up daily essentials from the neighborhood market.

Willsher states that store officials recently moved to make some of its underground space viable for storage when something remarkable was found.

Archaeologists were initially called because managers were aware that a hospital once stood at that spot until the “early 19th century.” Still, they never conceived of finding this kind of massive discovery.

Willsher writes, “At the last count the remains of at least 200 people have been uncovered under the shop floor, and experts believe there may be more, victims of a sudden and devastating disease or catastrophe.”

The Guardian tweeted out an image of the ongoing excavation: “

And many of the images found their way onto YouTube:

From the astounding to the absurdly typical, the dig takes place right under the daily shopping of nonchalant locals.

One shopper exclaimed while holding some bread: “It’s rather a bizarre thought. Still, there’s all sorts of odd things buried under Paris.”

This is, after all, the same city that houses the famed and mysterious catacombs. All of which should have travelers repeating a suddenly apropos line:

Scientists work diligently against a two-week deadline, hoping to find more about the discovery with tools like carbon dating.

Solène Bonleu, who works with France’s Institute of Preventative Archeological Research, offered more on the find: “We had expected to find a few human remains as we knew it was a former hospital cemetery, but nothing like as many as we have found. We’ve come across hospital cemeteries before, notably in Marseilles and Troyes, but it’s the first discovery of its kind in Paris.”

Bonleu continued, “Eventually all of the bones will be removed, but we only have two weeks to finish the work so we’re not allowing people down there.”

As for the history that is just now being unearthed below the market, Willsher writes, “The Hôpital de la Trinité was built in 1202 and was originally called Hôpital de la Croix de la Reine. It was run by monks and served to treat the poor and offer hospitality to pilgrims from the north who arrived at night after the city gates had closed. In 1353, the administrators allowed part of the land around the hospital to be used as a cemetery.”

Centuries later shoppers come and go as that rich history finds new life in a most peculiar way.

Remains are dusted off, hopefully leading to a wealth of answers, once again establishing Paris as a global leader in rich history.

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