World's Oldest Beehive Discovered in Ancient Church

The Rosslyn Chapel entrance. John J Brown/Shutterstock

Rosslyn Chapel, the same church featured in the best-selling novel and movie "The Da Vinci Code," has revealed a sweet secret completely hidden for the last 650 years.

While undergoing restoration — thanks in large part to a massive increase in tourism to the site — workers discovered two man-made stone beehives inside a pair of pinnacles atop the roof. Considering the age of the church, this would make them the oldest carved, functioning hives in the world.

“We had no idea they were there,” project architect Malcolm Mitchell told Building Design online. “The chapel has so many elaborate pinnacles, but we could not know what was going on behind. The two pinnacles are on the east gable side, and there was no outward sign that the hives were there other than the flower."

Ah yes, the flower. Apparently, stone masons constructing the hives left small openings in the center of each flower for the bees to enter and exit through. Nice, right? Once opened up, each of the hives measured 650 millimeters high and 40 millimeters in diameter, with a bit of comb left inside. Researchers, however, suspect that they haven't been used in about a decade.

Now that restoration work on the pinnacles has finished, officials are hopeful that the bees may return. Either way, it's yet another little secret to add to the tourism booklet for next year's fans.