German researchers near certain remains are those of Charlemagne

Feb 04, 2014 by Bob Yirka report
A coin of Charlemagne with the inscription KAROLVS IMP AVG (Karolus Imperator Augustus) Credit: PHGCOM/Wikipedia.

(Phys.org) —A team of German researchers has announced to the press that the bones they have been studying for almost 26 years are almost certainly those of Charlemagne, the first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.

Charlemagne is an historic figure as many consider him to be the father of modern Europe—he managed to forge the first empire in Europe (it included most of Western Europe) after the demise of the Roman Empire. Adding to his stature is that he reportedly personally led most of the 53 campaigns that led to his empire being built. Today, the monarchies in both Germany and France consider their realms to be direct descendants of the empire Charlemagne built.

Charlemagne based his empire out of what is now a western part of Germany—he died in his early seventies (in 847 reportedly from high fever or pneumonia) in the town of Aachen, which is where it's believed he was buried. His sarcophagus has been sitting in Aachen Cathedral for 1200 years—it was only in 1988 that a team of researchers secretly opened its lid to reveal 94 bones that are believed to have belonged to the famous leader. The researchers also discovered bones in a golden bust that were believed to belong to him as well. Both collections have been the subject of intense scrutiny ever since.

After careful analysis, the researchers report that the bones belonged to a man very nearly the same height as Charlemagne was reported to be—slightly over six feet tall—which was extremely unusual for that time (also unusual was that his father was known as Pepin the Short because he was only about five feet tall). The bones also came from a very thin man, which Charlemagne was also reported to be. Also, writings from the time suggest that the leader walked with a limp in his later years—the researchers report scaring on knee and ankle bones which likely caused their owner to limp.

The researchers obviously can't prove without a shadow of a doubt that the bones they've been studying are indeed those of Charlemagne, but insist that there is a "great likelihood" that they are, based on their research efforts.

Explore further: Seashells inspire new way to preserve bones for archeologists, paleontologists

More information: via TheLocal.de

Related Stories

A match of climate and history

Apr 08, 2011

Ancient Roman poetry and climate science may seem to have little in common, but a recent collaboration between a Harvard historian and European climate scientists highlights the potential for the two fields ...

Mexico wastewater project uncovers Ice Age bones

Aug 31, 2012

Workers have discovered hundreds of bones belonging to Ice Age animals, including mammoths, mastodons and glyptodons, while digging to build a wastewater treatment plant north of Mexico City.

Recommended for you

New hadrosaur noses into spotlight

Sep 19, 2014

Call it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs – a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State Univer ...

Militants threaten ancient sites in Iraq, Syria

Sep 19, 2014

For more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia—from Assyrians and Akkadians to Babylonians and Romans. Their ancient, buried cities, palaces and temples packed ...

New branch added to European family tree

Sep 17, 2014

The setting: Europe, about 7,500 years ago. Agriculture was sweeping in from the Near East, bringing early farmers into contact with hunter-gatherers who had already been living in Europe for tens of thousands ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Isotherm7
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
The monarch of the German Realm, Queen Angela, has apparently inherited more closely from Pepin