Charlemagne's bones are (probably) real
|A bust of Charlemagne in Aachen Cathedral [Credit: DPA]|
The team first opened the sarcophagus of the first emperor in western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire in secret in 1988 and presented their results for the first time on Wednesday.
One of the scientists studying the remains, Professor Frank Rühli, said: "Thanks to the results from 1988 up until today, we can say with great likelihood that we are dealing with the skeleton of Charlemagne."
|Charlemagne's bones [Credit: DPA]|
At 1.84 metres (six feet), he was unusually tall for his time. The team also estimated his weight at around 78 kilograms, giving him a slim body mass index of around 23.
Previous estimates had placed his height at between 1.79 metres and 1.92 metres.
And an account from medieval Frankish biographer Einhard the Frank claiming Charlemagne walked with a limp in old age could well be accurate, as both kneecap and heel bones had deposits consistent with an injury.
|Most of the bones were found in Charlemagne's gilded sarcophagus|
in Aachen Cathedral [Credit: DPA]
The greater part of the skeleton was found in the king's elaborate tomb, while parts of the skull were found in a bust of the emperor. One of the shin bones was discovered in Charlemagne's reliquary - a ceremonial container for remains.
While most of the bones are accounted for, it is believed some of those missing were given away as relics at the time of the emperor's death.
Source: The Local [January 31, 2014]