Paleopathology of the Natural Mummies of the Inner Abruzzo Region (XVIII-XIX Century)

Luca Ventura, Gaetano Miranda, Cinzia Mercurio, Francesca Ciocca, Gino Fornaciari


The inner Abruzzo region is a land of mountains and highlands with cold, dry climate, in which we started a systematic search of human remains.

The five natural mummies found in the friary of San Giorgio degli Osservanti in Goriano Valli showed excellent preservation.

Paleopathologic investigations demonstrated goiter, prostatic hyperplasia, arteriosclerosis, pneumonia, pulmonary silicoanthracosis, and two neoplasms.

The series from the church of the Santissima Trinità in Popoli includes at least eight mummified bodies buried in a crypt. During a preliminary investigation we studied a 35-40 year old nobleman with poor dental status, costal fractures and a renal stone.

The recovery of mummified human remains in the church of San Sebastiano in Navelli yielded 206 individuals. The initial paleopathologic analysis identified parodontal disease, fractures, tumors, degenerative joint diseases and traces of post-mortem examination.

The presence of so many subjects represents a rich cultural heritage, confirming the great paleopathologic interest of the region.

Key words: Central Italy - Paleopathology Mummies - Histology

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