Crusader-era bells help recreate medieval music

These bronze bells date back to Crusader times

They are now inspiring efforts to re-create medieval music

as it may have sounded almost 800 years ago

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FATHER STÉPHANE, FRANCISCAN FRIAR AND LITURGIST OF THE CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND, SAYING:

"We have here a very nice collection of bells from the Middle Ages. They were left by the Crusaders. They were used for the music inside the Basilica of Nativity together with organ pipes that were also found at the same moment."

Mid-13th century Crusaders buried the bells and the organ pipes

near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

on the eve of a Muslim offensive

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FATHER STÉPHANE, FRANCISCAN FRIAR AND LITURGIST OF THE CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND, SAYING:

"Those bells were buried next to the Basilica when the Muslims came and the Crusaders wanted to save the bells and the organ pipes. But they left the country and they never find them out so by chance, while the Franciscans were building the pilgrims house to welcome the pilgrims in Bethlehem, they excavated and they find again the bells and the organ pipes."

Researchers are trying to cast copies of them

in hopes to be able to re-create the 'sound of the Middle Ages'

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ESTELLE INGRAND-VARENNE, RESEARCHER AT THE CENTRE DE RECHERCHE FRANCAIS A JERUSALEM, SAYING:

"We are in the Holy Land and we know that it was then, the sounds and the sounds landscape was very important here with the other religions. So we know that the bells really represent the Latin. And if we come to have an idea of the sound of the Middle Ages also it's important."

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