King Lionheart’s heart undergoes forensic exam

Published on March 4th, 2013 | by Admin

0
Church_of_Fontevraud_Abbey_Richard_I_effigy

Researchers have analysed 2 grams of material taken from the the heart of King Richard I, known as King Lionheart.

For their analysis of Richard’s embalmed heart published today in Scientific Reports2, Charlier and his team took just 2 grams of the heart’s powdered remains and subjected it to a battery of tests. Scanning electron microscopy identified pollen grains from myrtle, mint and other known embalming plants, as well as poplar and bellflower, which were in bloom when the king died.

Elemental analysis turned up high concentrations of calcium, suggesting that lime may have been used as a preservative. Mass spectrometry identified organic molecules characteristic of creosote and frankincense, both used for preserving tissue.

The scientists also found bacteria, although none could be related to Richard’s cause of death. “We were surprised to get so much information,” says Charlier. He believes that this is the first forensic analysis of an embalmed heart ever done and the first physical evidence of ancient embalming using frankincense.

[Full story]

Story: Mark Peplow, Nature | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tags: , , ,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Follow me on Twitter!   Subscribe to my RSS feed!
     
  • Question of the Moment

    History in the making. November 8, 2016.

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Art Artifacts Bones Burials China Construction Egypt Egyptians England Food & Drink Fossils Humans Italy Medieval Remains Romans Scotland Shipwrecks Technology Tombs Turkey Underwater WWII
  • Archives