Charlemagne grave a mystery

Aachen - Archaeologists looking for the grave of medieval Emperor Charlemagne on Tuesday ruled out the popular theory that he was buried in the atrium of Aachen cathedral.

A team of archaeologists spent three years looking for evidence that the emperor - considered by many to be the first true European - was buried there after his death in the year 814.

"Since the 1980s, the theory persisted that the grave is in the atrium," Aachen archaeologist Andreas Schaub said.

However, the oldest items found during the latest dig date back to the 13th century - 400 years after Charlemagne's death.

The location of Charlemagne's grave has occupied experts for hundreds of years. After the failure of this latest attempt, it is expected to become increasingly difficult to find the grave.

"It is certain that Charlemagne was buried in Aachen, and certain that it was in the area of the church," said Schaub, echoing an opinion held by generations of experts.

Charlemagne, who commandeered a huge medieval empire from his base in Aachen, died on the morning of January 28 814. He was hurriedly buried later the same day.

Some 250 years later Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa located the grave and removed Charlemagne's bones, which are now kept in a shrine in the cathedral.

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