They solve the mystery of the mummified lung of the Merovingian queen Arnegunda

They solve the mystery of the mummified lung of the Merovingian queen Arnegunda


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In 1959, Arnegunda's lung was discovered, a Merovingian queen who lived in the 6th century AD. It was found inside a stone sarcophagus and had an incredible state of preservation, which made researchers wonder why this state after so many centuries.

This queen was the third wife of Clotaire I, who married her after her sister Ingonda (also the king's wife) asked her to find her a husband.

Something that is striking is that Arnegunda passed away when she was almost sixty years old, an advanced age for that time. It is known that he was approximately 1.55 meters tall and that he limped during his life as well as that he suffered from Forestier's disease and also arthritis in the spine. When she died she was buried next to a set of jewels and different objects.

In 1959 archaeologist Michel Fleury discovered the remains of the queen, bones, a lock of hair, pieces of cloth and leather, jewelry and the famous mummified lung.

As in many cases, the first thing that attracted attention was the jewelry and clothing, but the lung did not go unnoticed for no one. Questions began about how it had been kept in such good condition and if it had been mummified naturally or had some process been carried out to be able to preserve it for longer in an artificial way.

Raffaella bianucci, from the University of Turin, led an international team of researchers who were responsible for study the mummified lung, performing biopsies and studying him with the help of an electron microscope.

After the first studies it was revealed that the superficial part of the lung tissue had a high concentration of copper ions as well as low concentrations of benzoic acid and other substances that, as a general rule, occur a lot in the plant world and that happen to have certain similarities in some profiles of the balsams of the mummified bodies of Ancient Egypt.

Everything points to what Arnegunda could have been treated with a fluid made from different spices and plants that would have accumulated in the lung, thus facilitating its conservation for so long together with the conservation properties that copper has implicit.

This form of natural mummification It could be acquired from the Romans, who in turn learned it from the Egyptians, although it must be said that the Merovingian process was not so complex, because strips of flax soaked in resins and oils were used together with aromatic plants and spices such as nettles, thyme, aloe and myrrh among many others.

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