I’ve found out some more about the archaeological digging/diggering that has been going on at Nouzerines. It’s now finished. The piles of broken bones and bowls have been bulldozed back into place and now we just need a few spots of fresh tarmac.
More discoveries were made before they stopped work. They? Inrap is behind the dig. Apparently, whenever restoration work is done to a church, Inrap comes in too to have a dig around and see what it can uncover. Inrap has a website at www.inrap.fr. Do take a look because on the weekend of 23rd to 24th June there are some Journées Archéologie taking place around the country. Follow this link and you’ll be able to see what’s going on in your area. There is actually one event in Creuse, which is quite a surprise since we seem to miss on most of the national days of something or other, but I will probably head to St Amand Montrond in Indre for their events.
Back to Nouzerines. The bodies I thought were priests the other day are in fact chevaliers knights/lords, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, or so the guy digging this morning told me. There were roughly 40 skeletons along that side of the church. One of the sarcophagi from there has been removed as a souvenir for the Mairie. I’m not sure where it will end up.
The oldest body found was this one, at the side of the church.
At the back of the church, this headless skeleton came to light. The bowl on his pelvis is a bol de mort (death bowl). His family would have put food in there for the journey to heaven.
You can see remnants of the original church in the next photo. At one time it was trefle (clover) shaped, and you can see part of the old wall in the photo. A bit of rejiggling went on between the 12th and 15th centuries at St Clair’s (which was formerly St Clerice’s, up until the revolution).
So Inrap have done a quick raid to see what was in the ground around our church and then covered it all back up again. It’s weird. They’ve merrily destroyed skeletons and pottery and removed a bit of gravestone, but seem very pleased with themselves. As I said the other day, I do question the methodology. To come in and pulverise what was lying there peacefully and undisturbed for so many hundreds of years seems a shame. Yes, it was interesting to see the skeletons and see some of old Nouzerines but definitely not at the cost of so much interference and upheaval to those ancient Nouzerinois.
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