PARIS — Imagine shopping in a French supermarket, grabbing the best-looking baguettes, croissants, you name it — all the while, unbeknown to you, archaeologists are digging up hundreds of carefully lain skeletons below your feet.
For some Parisians, that eerie scenario was reality. According to The Guardian, archaeologists exhumed a series of mass graves beneath the Monoprix supermarket in Paris — all while shoppers in the store above carried on as normal.
The Guardian reports the supermarket rests on the site of an old medieval hospital. The bodies of at least 200 people were uncovered beneath the store’s floor — likely the victims of a sudden disease or other catastrophe, according to experts.
According to The Guardian, archaeologists discovered the mass graves after the store applied to convert part of its cellar into more storage space. Store managers called archaeologists in to check for human remains, as they knew the site was a former hospital.
Archaeologists expected to find just a few bodies, but the more they dug, they unearthed dozens of bodies — and then dozens more.
A leading archaeologist told The Guardian that there was possibly another layer of bodies below the ones that were already unearthed.
Meanwhile, the shoppers above carried on, bread in hand, some finding the whole ordeal sort of strange.
“It’s rather a bizarre thought,” one shopper, who identified himself as Pierre, told The Guardian. “Still, there’s all sorts of odd things buried under Paris.”
According to The Guardian, the archaeologists have two weeks to remove all the bones so that Monoprix can then use the cellar for storage. Meanwhile, scientists are conducting tests to determine how the people died.
The Guardian reported the original hospital was built in 1202 and was run by monks to treat the poor and offer hospitality to pilgrims. In 1353, administrators allowed part of the land around the hospital to be used as a cemetery.
Then, in the 16th century, part of the hospital became an orphanage. The facilities were closed during the French revolution and later sold. The buildings were then demolished by private owners in 1817, The Guardian reported.