Mummified Fetus Discovered in Italy

By on October 3, 2014

Mummified remains of a fetus discovered beneath the St. John the Evangelist church in Casentino, Italy

An article recently published in the Journal of Osteoarcheology details the discovery and examination of a mummified 29-week-old fetus dating to 1840 and other 19th-century remains in Central Italy. The remains were found after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in 2009 damaged the St. John the Evangelist church in Casentino.

The floor of the church partially collapsed, revealing rooms beneath filled with the remains.

Radiography of the fetus reveal that it was not fully connected, suggesting an ancient procedure called embryotomy. It was a surgical procedure for removing a fetus from the womb when the mother’s life was in danger or the fetus had already died. Embryotomy was also an extreme form of abortion during the medieval period.

Though the arms, head and skull bones had been disarticulated, they had been carefully reassembled and dressed.

Other remains found beneath the church showed signs of autopsy procedures such as craniotomy, where bone is removed from the skull to access the brain.

19th century human remains found beneath a church in Italy

via Live Science

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One Comment

  1. Kelsey

    December 31, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I’ve had a craniotomy… Weird. I asked the surgeon if I could keep my skull fragments and that was a big fat no

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