Peek in­side sepul­chre of last em­peror of Holy Ro­man Em­pire re­veals trea­sures

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

Both rob­bers and his­to­ri­ans have al­ways been in­ter­ested in the tombs of for­mer rulers. Only one from the 14 burial sites of late-me­di­ae­val kings and em­per­ors of the Holy Ro­man Em­pire was never looted, dis­turbed or al­tered: that of Em­peror Fred­er­ick III (1415-1493) in St Stephen’s Cathe­dral in Vi­enna.

In 2013 a tiny cam­era was in­serted through a small open­ing in the outer wall of this fa­mous sar­coph­a­gus in the Cathe­dral. The re­sult­ing photograph­s doc­u­mented the most elab­o­rate in­ter­ment of a me­dieval Euro­pean ruler ever dis­cov­ered

There were ru­mours that the mon­u­men­tal tomb in St Stephen’s Cathe­dral was empty, and that the em­peror was not ac­tu­ally buried there. To counter these spec­u­la­tions, a tiny open­ing was drilled into the walls of the sar­coph­a­gus in 1969 to view and doc­u­ment, with the help of lamps and mir­rors, the in­terred body and a small part of the funer­ary goods placed in the tomb. It was, how­ever, not pos­si­ble to take photograph­s.

They were first pro­duced in 2013 when the small aper­ture was re-opened and all the el­e­ments of a royal burial were re­vealed. The ruler’s funer­ary in­signia, crown, scep­tre and orb, were all there plus once op­u­lent tex­tiles which were used to cover the corpse. All bear wit­ness to the ex­traor­di­nary ef­fort ex­pended when the em­peror was laid to rest. The re­searchers likened the sen­sa­tional mo­ment of see­ing the in­te­rior of

Com­plete view of the mitre-crown placed over a piece of red fab­ric on the skull of the de­ceased em­peror

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