Renovation works at a German Church have uncovered 27 graves with the remains of 40 people, described by experts as an extraordinary find.
The graves were found in brick vaults 50 centimetres under the floor of the Charles Church (Karlskirche) in the central German city of Kassel.
Research has shown that the remains belong to Kassel’s upper classes who were interred there between 1714 and 1797.
The number of burials and the construction of the graves make the discovery very unusual, the leader of the archaeological dig Thilo Warneke said.
Knowledge of the graves was lost over the centuries until a digger operator rediscovered them during renovation works at the church.
One of the bodies belonged to the 3-year-old daughter of Italian master builder Giovanni Francesco Guerniero, who constructed Kassel’s landmark Hercules monument.
Warneke said the families would have paid a huge amount of money to be interred within the church.
“The graves and human remains are to remain in place despite the renovation of the church.
“It’s a question of respect to leave the dead in their graves inasmuch as that is possible,’’ the archaeologist said.
Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel originally had the church built for French Protestant refugees, the Hugenots.
It was consecrated in 1710.