Roccapelago (Italie) : Mummy Stash Found Part.2



Two openings in the church's wall ensured a constant airing within the crypt and helped the process of natural mummification. The researchers believe that the crypt was initially used as a traditional grave, with bodies buried in the ground. In a later period, dead people -- fully dressed and wrapped in bags or shrouds -- were dropped from a trap door in the floor of the church above.

Barbara Vernia/SBAER

Many bodies were found in very unusual postures. According to the researchers, the odd positions are due to the dropping from opening above. Most of the bodies were found stacked to form a pyramid. The top of this pyramid pile was in correspondence with the trap door above.

Donato Labate/SBAER

Study of the mummies, which has already started, reveals that several individuals were hard workers. Further investigations will try to shed light on the community’s lifestyle, the diet, diseases and hygiene. Research will include analysis of pathological conditions, osteological and histological examinations, investigations of teeth, DNA analysis, as well as the creation of 3D facial reconstruction of some of the most interesting mummies.

Donato Labate/SBAER

According to the researchers, the investigation is particularly interesting because it involves a small and rather isolated community of people whose lives centered around the church of Conversione di San Paolo Apostolo in Roccapelago, in the middle of the Emilia Romagna Apennines.  At the end of the study, some mummies will be displayed in the church. The other bodies will be moved from the laboratory in Ravenna where they are now being examined, and buried within the grounds of the 16th century church.

Donato Labate/SBAER