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Excavation 600-year-old Charlemagne insignia found in Zurich

The insignia was one of the archaeological finds made by excavating near Zurich's Fraumünster church

(Photographer:Martin Bachmann)

Archaeologists working on an excavation near Zurich’s Fraumünster church have found a 600-year-old metal insignia depicting the emperor Charlemagne at the graves of the city’s patron saints. 

A similar scene of Charlemagne discovering the graves of saints Felix and Regula can be seen in another church in Zurich, the Grossmünster. According to legend, Charlemagne was led to their graves by a stag, where his horse kneeled down before the saints. At that place, Charlemagne was said to have founded the Grossmünster church.

Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor in Rome on Christmas Day in AD800, has been regarded as a holy figure in Zurich since the 13th century. This latest archaeological find strengthens theories that he was regarded as such by the general public many hundred years ago, according to the city of Zurich. 

Excavations have been taking place near the Fraumünster for several years, and archaeologists are now identifying and dating their findings. In addition to the 35mm-wide insignia, they uncovered a star-shaped spur believed to be at least 700 years old and believed to have been lost by a rider crossing the church courtyard. 

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