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Tycho Brahe’s silver nose was actually made of brass

Recently the remains of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe were exhumed to determine his real cause of death (he wasn’t poisoned). Separate tests have also revealed that his famous silver nose prosthetic was actually made of brass.

In another finding, the team reported that the silver nose piece Brahe famously wore after losing part of his own nose in a duel was not actually silver. Though the prosthesis has not been found, greenish stains around the nasal area of Brahe’s corpse contained traces of copper and zinc, indicating that his fake nose was made of brass, the researchers said.

“When we exhumed the body in 2010, we took a small bone sample from the nose so that we could examine its chemical composition,” project leader Jens Vellev, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, said in a statement. “Surprisingly, our analyses revealed that the prosthesis was not made of precious metals, as was previously supposed … So Tycho Brahe’s famous ‘silver nose’ wasn’t made of silver after all.”

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Story: Megan Gannon, LiveScience

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