- Building Information
√Čtampes
(Essonne, France)
Notre-Dame-du-Fort
Surveyed: 1969, 1977, 1980-83, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2015, 2017
- Locator Map
√Čtampes (Essonne, France) - Notre-Dame-du-Fort
- Observations on Project A - Crypt - Consistencies and Anomalies
The fundamental principle behind toichology is observation. We can look for consistency in order to determine which portions of a building were constructed at the same time, or we can look for anomalies in order to find breaks in construction and changes in design concept. Usually, common sense will allow us to determine which portions of a building came before or after others, and this in turn allows us to develop a relative chronology. Further study of details and carving styles allows us to narrow the dating of those portions, and in the end we should be able to arrive at a convincing chronology of construction for any given building. On this page we present initial observations and speculate about the likely implications for chronology.

Click the thumbnails to see larger images.
Project A - Crypt
Singular Character
The crypt is a single, coherent construction, representing a single phase.

Implications
Except for the painting on the vaults, it seems clear the crypt is original, and probably the oldest part of the building.
Project A - Crypt
Crypt Windows
There are currently two windows in the crypt, both blocked. One is on the axis at the east, the other is on the north wall, east of the stairs (far left).

Implications
My natural inclination toward symmetry suggests that there was a matching window on the south wall, but there is no remaining evidence to confirm this. It may have been blocked and plastered over, or it may never have existed. The interior of the north window has been plastered and painted, and it seems logical to assume that if there were a window on the south, they would have done the same. Perhaps the grade was higher on this side, precluding the inclusion of a window.
Project A - Crypt
Crypt Niches
There are currently two niches around the apse of the crypt. These two niches are low to the ground and seem unsuited to serve as windows.

Implications
These niches are not very deep, and are low to the ground. Even if we assume a lower original floor level, it would have had to be a lot lower in order for these niches to be at eye level. It is unclear what purpose these niches served.
Project A - Crypt
Crypt Entrances
Both entrances to the crypt have a date of "1811" painted over the doorway.

Implications
It is very unusual for crypt stairs to run perpendicular to the crypt, and it is much more usual for those stairs to run along the crypt to the west. It seems likely the original stairs were relocated due to the reconstruction of the choir and the installation of its piers. The current stairs are a reworking of the relocated stairs.
Project A - Crypt
Western Niche
There is a deep niche, extending to the floor, centered on the west wall of the crypt.

Implications
The prevailing theory is that this niche housed reliquaries. The back wall of the niche has been plastered over, so it is not possible to determine whether it was at one time either fully open or perhaps had some kind of viewing window in it.