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Forschungsdatenbank PMU-SQQUID

Scenes from the past: radiologic evidence of anthropogenic mummification in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily.
Panzer, S; Zink, AR; Piombino-Mascali, D;
Radiographics. 2010; 30(4):11-32
Originalarbeiten (Zeitschrift)


Panzer Stephanie


The purpose of this study was to use paleoradiologic analyses to investigate a sample of the mummies in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, in order to assess skeletal abnormalities and the state of preservation, especially the condition of the internal organs, and to determine radiologic evidence of anthropogenic mummification. Ten 19th and early 20th century mummies with good external preservation were investigated by using a portable direct radiography unit inside the Capuchin Catacombs. The radiographs clearly demonstrated signs of anthropogenic mummification in nine of the 10 mummies investigated. The embalming methods that had been used included (a) evisceration and arterial injection; (b) the placement of foreign materials into the orbits and the nasal and oral cavities; and (c) filling of the thoracic, abdominal, and rectal cavities with foreign materials. Organ preservation varied greatly among the mummies, although brain tissue was found in all of the mummies. Analyses of the skeletal material of the mummies showed evidence of healed vertebral fractures, age-related degenerative changes, and, in one of the child mummies, a remarkable skeletal pathologic condition. The radiographs clearly illustrated different methods of anthropogenic mummification in the catacomb mummies of Palermo, allowed assessment of the preservation of the mummies, and demonstrated skeletal abnormalities. (c) RSNA, 2010 . radiographics.rsna.org

Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)



Forensic Anthropology/methods*

History, 19th Century

History, 20th Century



Mummies/diagnostic imaging*