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Bones unearthed from Aachen Cathedral most likely Charlemagne's, scientists say

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Good news for all the history buffs out there: According to CNET on Thursday the 1,200-year-old bones unearthed from Aachen Cathedral thought to be those of Charlemagne are now believed to be the real deal.

Since the ruler's body had been exhumed and moved into more elaborate caskets and reportedly also dispersed into reliquaries, questions arose as to whether the bones on display at Aachen truly belonged to him, leading to a lengthy study to verify the origin of the remains.

After a verification process taking over two decades of research to complete, Frank Ruhli of Switzerland's University of Zurich announced the study's results and said the bones are that of an old male who was slim and quite tall. That description certainly lines up with descriptions of Charlemagne, who died in his early 70s and was estimated to be around six feet tall, which was in the 99th percentile of height for the period in which he lived.

Researchers studied 94 bones and fragments believed to all come from the same person. Charlemagne was said to have walked with a limp, which was likely corroborated by the kneecap and heel deposits found on the bones.

The findings were announced last week on the 1,200th anniversary of Charlemagne's death.

"Thanks to the results from 1988 up until today, we can say with great likelihood that we are dealing with the skeleton of Charlemagne," Ruhli said during the announcement.

Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great and the "Father of Europe," served as Western Europe's first emperor from 800 until his death in 814, when he was succeeded by his son Louis the Pious.



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