Three months after the collapse of Cologne’s city archives, experts are amazed by how many of the precious documents have survived the devastating accident.

“It is sensational that everything is still somehow there,” archive head Bettina Schmidt-Czaia said.

The documents, which date back up to 1,000 years ago, are in varying states, but less than one-quarter have been torn apart, and workers hope to piece them back together using software that was developed to restore shredded documents from the East German secret police, the Stasi.

But restoration work could take up to 30 years or longer, she said.

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