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Article  2019 Notre Dame fire reveals a major surprise hidden in cathedral's architecture

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INTRO: For all the damage that the 2019 Notre Dame fire wrought, it presented archaeologists in Paris with a unique opportunity to peer into through the landmark's history.

Parts of the famous cathedral that were concealed for centuries are now being picked apart and put back together, providing a window into the architectural innovations that once made this 32-meter-high (105 feet) building the tallest cathedral in its age.

That height, it turns out, is largely thanks to the iron that runs through the majestic structure's veins. Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of metal staples in various parts of the cathedral, some dating back to the early 1160s.

The findings suggest the extensive use of iron in masonry is not as modern as experts once assumed. Medieval builders working on Notre Dame were employing the architectural technique long before restoration works started in the 19th century.

"Notre Dame is now unquestionably the first known Gothic cathedral where iron was massively used to bind stones as a proper construction material," archaeologists working in Paris conclude.

The team estimates that the iron fixtures found at Notre Dame were designed up to two decades before France's Soisson cathedral was built and four decades before the Bourges cathedral came to be. Until now, both these gothic buildings were considered the first examples of systemic iron masonry.

The architect that was initially in charge of Notre Dame's construction was clearly ahead of the game... (MORE - details)

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