Journey into the Macabre Marvel: Palermo Catacombs’ Eerie Charm Showcased by 1,280 Skeletons and 163 Baby Mummies

The Palermo catacombs is a huge crypt full of mummified monks, professionals, and children. The child mummies in the Palermo catacombs literally look as if they are asleep in time.

Now, 41 of these child mummies are being comprehensively investigated by a team of scientists who aim to understand their lifestyles and the circumstances of their death.

Image

Dark tourists will all have heard of the Palermo catacombs or Capuchin Catacombs, in Palermo, Sicily. This macabre tourist attraction features more than 1,280 skeletonized and mummified bodies, including 163 child mummies.

Now, a team of British scientists are scanning the remains of 41 youngsters to understand how they died some 200 years ago. The study, to be published in Italian and English as an educational material package, is in progress and has not been published yet.

Image

The Capuchin Monks of the Palermo Catacombs

The famous Palermo catacombs contain hundreds of 16th to early 20th century bodies that line its hallowed crypts , and many of them are still dressed in haunting period clothing.

According to a report in the Daily Mail , wealthy citizens of Palermo who died between the 17th and 19th centuries were embalmed by Palermo’s Capuchin monks , a religious order of Franciscan friars within the Catholic Church.

Image

The new study of 41 mummified children is being led by Dr Kirsty Squires, associate professor of bioarchaeology, and a team of researchers at Staffordshire University in England.

Work begins in the crypts next week, “which is very exciting,” said Dr Squires to the Daily Mail. The scientist disclosed to the press that the new study includes “a previously unstudied collection of children’s mummies from the catacombs.”

Mapping The Palermo Catacombs Children’s Lives And Deaths

The 163 children’s bodies housed in the catacombs include 41 from an area called the “child chapel” who died between 1787 and 1880. These bodies will be scanned in situ using a portable digital direct X-ray machine .

Dr Squire expects the scanning of the mummies to take about a week, which will then be followed with archival research while the team are still in Palermo.

Video

In total, 574 individual radiographs will be taken to generate a comprehensive biological profile of the mummified children. Dr Squires said the non-invasive portable X-ray machine will capture digital images of each child “from head to toe,” ʀᴇvᴇᴀʟιɴԍ not only the children’s sexes but also their age at the time of their death.

The scans will also detect birth and growth defects , stress indicators, and pathological lesions, which will offer the researchers a clearer picture of the children’s lifestyles and health.

The Study Will Also Use Other Children’s Burial DataThe newly acquired lifestyle data will then be compared with “biological attributes of children buried elsewhere in Palermo who were not afforded mummification,” according to Dr Squires.

All this information will be analyzed against each child’s position within the crypt, “their funerary attire and associated artifacts (such as chairs and canes), mummification type (natural or artificial) and any surviving historical documentation.”

Image

Capuchin Catacombs curator Dario Piombino-Mascali is working with Dr Squires on the new study and he told the Guardian that many of the child mummies are a result of natural dehydration while other mummies were chemically treated, which are generally better ᴘʀᴇsᴇʀvᴇᴅ.

He added that several of the child mummies at the Capuchin Catacombs “look like sleeping children, darkened by time.” He explained that many have fake glass eyes , so they seem “to be looking at you” . . . like little ᴅoʟʟs.

While the team of university scientists are approaching this project from a data collection perspective, curator Dario Piombino-Mascali is dedicated to having the children’s stories told to the world.

He told the Daily Mail, “Of course you want to do something to ᴘʀᴇsᴇʀvᴇ them and to make sure their stories are told and give a sense that they are children.” He added that it can be “very upsetting” when you deal with children in anthropology.

Image

To make sure the stories of the Palermo catacombs children are told to the greatest audience possible, the new study will include articles, lectures, a blog, and teaching packs, which will be published in both Italian and English.

Top image: Inside the Palermo catacombs, Palermo, Sicily, Italy and an image of Rosalia Lombardo, who died in 1920, as she appeared in 1982. Source: toshket / Adobe Stock and Maria lo sposo assumed / Public domain

Related Posts

Beyond Time: Exploring the Ancient Legacy of Varna Necropolis and its Gold Artifacts

The “Oldest Gold Of Mankind” was foυnd in the Varna Necropolis, on The Bυlgarian Black Sea Coast In 1972, an excavator operator working in the indυstrial zone…

Ancient Wonders Revealed: Unearthed Giants (3.28m) Rewrite Philippines’ History

Αside from mythology and folklore remains of extremely tall people have been reported, although rarely documented. Everyone will decide for himself whether or not to believe they…

Shivers of History: Skeleton Carrying Ancient Torture Mystery Found Bound at the Neck

A sk𝚎l𝚎t𝚘n ch𝚊in𝚎𝚍 𝚊t th𝚎 n𝚎ck w𝚊s 𝚞n𝚎𝚊𝚛th𝚎𝚍 𝚛𝚎c𝚎ntl𝚢, s𝚎n𝚍in𝚐 shiʋ𝚎𝚛s 𝚍𝚘wn th𝚎 s𝚙in𝚎s 𝚘𝚏 м𝚊n𝚢. This м𝚊c𝚊𝚋𝚛𝚎 𝚍isc𝚘ʋ𝚎𝚛𝚢 h𝚊s n𝚘t 𝚘nl𝚢 c𝚊𝚙tiʋ𝚊t𝚎𝚍 th𝚎 𝚊tt𝚎nti𝚘n 𝚘𝚏 𝚊𝚛ch𝚊𝚎𝚘l𝚘𝚐ists…

Leave a Reply

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