Researchers at the Lund University Hospital were very surprised when they scanned the mummy of a Scandinavian monk found the remains of a fetus. The mummy belongs to the priest Peder Winstrup, a historical figure of some importance in Scandinavia who died in 1679. Archaeologists reflect on the reasons why a fetus has been found in the priest's tomb.
The priest's body was being investigated because they wanted to learn about the health and life of people in the Middle Ages in Scandinavia. The University of Lund has reported that Father Winstrup is an important personality in the Nordic countries, being one of the founders of the University of Lund itself. He died in 1679 and was buried in the city's cathedral a year later. The coffin, along with what it contains, is an authentic time capsule dating back to 1679 and the body is very well preserved.
Lund University has reported that the remains of Father Winstrup were naturally mummified as a result of the constant flow of air, the vegetation of the coffin, by the date of the burial that took place during the winter months and in general the climate and temperature of the cathedral.
The scanner has revealed that Winstrup suffered from many physical illnesses including tuberculosis, pneumonia, arteriosclerosis, gallstones, osteoarthritis, and a shoulder injury. Apart from this information on the state of health of the religious, the scanner discovered the remains of a thin fetus next to the foot of the priest.
«One of the biggest discoveries when we analyzed the scanner was that we realized that the priest was not alone in the coffin, but that he was accompanied by a baby of about five or six months"Explained Per Karsten, director of the Lund University History Museum.
Karsten thinks the fetus has something to do with Winstrup, perhaps an illegitimate son placed there. «It was deliberately hidden under the foot of the religious, at the end of the coffin and maybe there is a connection between Winstrup and that child, I think it was placed there by one of those who organized the funeral of Father Winstrup«, Commented Karsten.
DNA analysis is underway to determine if there is a blood correlation between the baby and the priest. The remains of Father Winstrup and his coffin mate will be reburied once the investigations are complete.