Joan of Arc 'an Egyptian mummy'

Ancient remains supposedly belonging to the 15th century French heroine, Joan of Arc, are in fact those of an Egyptian mummy, a team of international researchers has revealed.

Joan of Arc 'an Egyptian mummy'

Ancient remains supposedly belonging to the 15th century French heroine,Joan of Arc, are in fact those of an Egyptian mummy, a team of internationalresearchers has revealed.

The remains consisting of a rib bone, a piece of cloth and a cat femur, weresaid to have been recovered after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431,aged just 19, in the town of Rouen in Normandy.

The relics were found in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, bearing the inscription,"Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans."

In 1909, the year Joan of Arc was beatified, scientists declared it"highly probable" that the remains were hers.

But in an investigation that began last year, a team of 20 researchers from France, Switzerlandand Beninre-examined the relics and were surprised to find that the rib bone came froman Egyptian mummy.

"They are mummified remains of Egyptian origin dated to [Egypt's] LatePeriod," Philippe Charlier, the scientist leading the team, said onWednesday.

One theory is that the remains were faked in the 19th century, possibly tosmooth the process of Joan of Arc's beatification. She went on to be canonisedas a saint in 1920.

Charlier said another theory could be that a 19th century apothecary wasbehind the fake, and transformed "these remains of an Egyptian mummy intoa fake relic, or fake historic remains, of Joan of Arc".

In medieval times and later, powdered mummy remains were used as medicine,"to treat stomach ailments, long or painful periods, all bloodproblems", Charlier said.

Tests dated the bone to between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC,he said.

The cat bone dated from the same period and was also mummified. Theyalso found pollen of pines, probably from resin used in Egyptian embalming.

But they were unable to extract DNA from the remains, meaning they could notidentify the sex of the mummy.

Sniffing around

During the research perfumers were called upon by the scientists.

The researchers had them sniff the remains, using their exceptionalolfactory senses "so they could identify the smells, the vegetable matterin the embalming and guide our research", Charlier said.

The study does not invalidate the existence of Joan of Arc, whose brieflife, trial and death in fact is one of the most well-documented episodes inmedieval history and remains a subject of scholarly debate.

Initially a figurehead who revealed herself as a true military leader, Joanled the French armies in lifting the English siege of Orleans in 1429, the first of a chain ofswift victories that ended with the coronation of Charles VII.

Wounded in the battle for Paris,she was captured and sold to the English, to be convicted of heresy and burnedat the stake.

The body was ordered to be burned twice more, and the ashes cast into theRiver Seine, in order to prevent any relics being seized.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16