A few years ago, Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at Raymond Poincare Hospital in Garches, France, and his team first determined that the bottle contained an approximately 4-inch-long human rib covered with a black coating. It also housed part of a cat femur covered with the same coating, three fragments of “charcoal” and “a brownish textile scrap” about the same length as the rib.
Charlier said some historians then speculated that a cat, perhaps symbolizing the devil, was thrown onto Joan of Arc’s funeral pyre.
Carbon dating, however, found that the objects predate the French heroine’s lifetime by many centuries.
The “textile scrap” is likely a mummy wrapping, since “the chemical composition of the coatings was comparable with that of embalming products, such as those used by the old Egyptians,” the researchers concluded.
The dark coating contained a mix of bitumen, wood resins, gypsum and other chemicals. Pine pollen was also identified, probably from pine resin, commonly used during Egyptian embalming.