Photos: Discovery of 200 Skeletons Halts Supermarket Remodel

A supermarket in Paris had to temporarily halt plans to remodel after more the skeletal remains of more than 200 people were uncovered beneath the store.  The Monoprix supermarket was preparing to expand its basement for extra storage space when the series of several mass graves was discovered, The Guardian reported. Archaeologists were brought in to check the human remains at the site.

As the archaeological team continued to dig deeper into the ground, they continued to uncover skeleton after skeleton.

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The location of the human remains leads experts to believe they were buried at the site of a hospital, probably destroyed in the early 19th century. They believe hospital itself probably dates back to the middle ages.

What happened to the bodies that remained buried beneath the site is unclear—they have uncovered men, women, and children of all ages. The mass grave could have been the result of a natural disaster that took many lives, or from a widespread plague or disease at the time of the deaths.

Scientists are using carbon dating technology and DNA test to determine the cause of death.

Solene Bonleu of the Institute of Preventative Archeological Research was one of the experts who worked at the site.

Bonleu said:

“We had expected to find a few human remains as we knew it was a former hospital cemetery, but nothing like as many as we have found. We’ve come across hospital cemeteries before, notably in Marseilles and Troyes, but it’s the first discovery of its kind in Paris.”

Archaeologists believe there may be another layer of bodies below those that have already been uncovered.