Bones of Europe's Charlemagne Confirmed: Photos
Bones from the golden casket and shrine of Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, in Aachen Cathedral in Germany very likely to belong to the Frankish warrior-king known as the father of Europe, according to Swiss and German scientists who have studied the remains for 26 years. Seefull article about the Charlemagne study.
The bones appear to belong to a single individual, an old and rather tall man. This matches contemporary descriptions of Charlemagne. Indeed, X-rays and CT scan analysis of a left tibia by Frank Rühli, Head of the Center for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland confirmed that Charlemagne was a tall man, standing about 6 feet tall.
Charlemagne managed to forge the first empire in Europe after the demise of the Roman Empire. He died, possibly of pleurisy, after having ruled as Emperor for just over 13 years. Buried in the German Cathedral the same day as his death, on Jan. 28, 814, the father of Europe has not really rested in peace.
Charlemagne's tomb was first opened by the Emperor Otto III in the year 1000. According to contemporary chronicles, as Otto entered the underground chamber, he was struck by the vision of Charlemagne seated upon a throne, wearing a golden crown and holding a scepter, his fingernails sticking out the gloves and much of his flesh still intact.
In 1165, Frederick I, also known as Barbarossa, re-opened the tomb, displayed the remains as holy relics, then buried Charles in an elaborately carved marble sarcophagus beneath the floor of the Cathedral.
The founder of the Holy Roman Empire was exhumed and reburied several other times with parts of his body given away as relics. In 1988, scientists secretly opened his sarcophagus one more time to reveal 94 bones and bone fragments. The researchers also discovered bones in a golden bust that were believed to belong to the famous leader.