Researchers recently came upon the remarkably preserved body of a 17th century bishop in a church in Sweden, but it’s what they found inside his coffin along with him that left them stunned.
According to researchers at Lund University, the was not buried alone.
“One of the main discoveries when we conducted the CT scanning was that Mr. Winstrup is not alone in the coffin,” Per Karsten, director of the Historical Museum at Lund University, told the Guardian. “Actually, he has a companion, a small child, a five- to six-months-old fetus of a human child, and it has been deliberately concealed under his feet at the bottom of the coffin – so maybe there is a connection.”
“You can only speculate as to whether it was one of Winstrup’s next of kin, or whether someone else took the opportunity while preparing the coffin,” Karsten continued, adding that he believes the latter situation is the case. “But we hope to be able to clarify any kinship through a DNA test.”
According to The Blaze, Winstrup died in 1697 at the age of 74 and was buried in Lund Cathedral. Scans showed that the body’s internal organs were still intact, which isn’t usually the case.
Researchers say that the factors that contributed to the body’s preservation include good air flow, the coffin’s natural material, illness prior to death, his burial in the winter and the climate maintained inside the cathedral.
“We can now observe that Winstrup’s mummy is one of the best-preserved bodies from Europe in the 1600s, with an information potential well in line with that offered by Otzi the ice man or Egyptian mummies,” Karsten said of the mummy. “His remains constitute a unique archive of medical history on the living conditions and health of people living in the 1600s.”
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