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The mystery of the bishop’s mummy buried with a fetus since the 17th century

A stillborn 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢 discovered wrapped in cloth between the legs of a 17th century Swedish bishop has finally been identified as his grandson.

Bishop Peder Winstrup was a prominent Lutheran church member who was buried in 1679 in a crypt at Lund Cathedral, Sweden and experts have tried to determine his relationship to the 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢 for several years.

Previous analysis found the man of God was buried with the foetus concealed between his calves, and researchers have now used DNA analysis to determine the child was most likely the bishop’s grandson.

Bishop Peder Winstrup (pictured) was a prominent Lutheran church member in 17th century Scandinavia and he was buried in 1679 in a crypt a Lund Cathedral

Previous analysis of the 17th century bishop this man of God was buried with the remains of a human foetus wrapped in cloth and concealed betwixt his calves (pictured), and researchers have been toiling to solve the riddle for more than five years

Researchers took genetic samples from both the bishop and the foetus and found the child was a boy who was not fully developed. It is thought the mother of the child suffered a miscarriage around six months into the pregnancy, leading to the stillbirth

Scientists found the two individuals share 25 per cent of their genetic material with one another, known as a second-degree kinship.

Experts at Lund University found that 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢 had a different mitochondrial DNA lineage than the bishop, suggesting that he was not related to the older man through his mother.

Additionally, the fetus’s DNA revealed that he had the same type of Y chromosome as the rabbi, suggesting the two may have been related to 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢’s father.

As a second-degree relative, the Winstrup bishop could be an uncle, grandparent, half-brother, or a half-brother of the fetus.

But when the genetic clues were pieced together along with analysis of the Winstrup family tree, the researchers concluded that the most likely explanation was that the fetus was the son of a bishop’s son.

Maja Krzewinska at the Center for Paleontology at Stockholmm University, who participated in the analysis, said: “Archaeological research can contribute to the understanding of kinship between deceased and In this case, more specifically, between Winstrup and the fetus.

‘It is possible that the stillborn boy 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢 was the son of Peder Pedersen Winstrup, and therefore the bishop was his grandfather.’

Bishop Winstrup has been appreciated by scientists for his exceptional state of preservation, but the mystery of the fetuses buried with him has puzzled academics.

Torbjörn Ahlström, professor of historical osteology at Lund University and one of the leading researchers behind the study, said adult childbirth was not common at the time. there.

“The fetuses may have been placed in the coffin after the funeral, when it was in a vaulted tomb in Lund Cathedral and therefore accessible,” he said.

These findings were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Bishop Winstrup was one of the most influential church leaders in Europe during his lifetime, torn between the conflict between Sweden and Denmark at the time.

He was Bishop of Lund in Scania when it was under the control of both the Danish empire and then the kingdom of Sweden.

He was also a leading theologian and is credited with persuading the Swedish king to open a new university in Lund.

His body was not embalmed but dried in the cold dry climate in his crypt in the church at Lund.

Experts found him wearing a crude outfit consisting of a cap and black velvet sleeves, an embroidered linen shirt, and leather gloves.

He had been placed on a mattress and pillow filled with plants including lavender, juniper berries, hops and hyssop.

Researchers discovered that instead of being removed, the bishop’s internal organs remained intact.

The researchers took genetic samples from both the bishop and the fetus and discovered that the child was male and that the two individuals shared 25% of their genetic material, a second-degree kinship. .

Scientists led by Lund University discovered that 𝚋𝚊𝚋𝚢 has a different mitochondrial DNA lineage than the bishop, which proves they do not share the same maternal ancestors and therefore the child is related to the bishop by his father’s side

Experts found that the bishop was dressed in a rudimentary suit consisting of a cap and black velvet sleeves, an embroidered linen shirt and leather gloves. He had been placed on a mattress and pillow filled with plants including lavender, juniper berries, hops and marjoram.

X-rays show that the Swedish bishop dried up the liquid in his sins and was probably bedridden for some time before his death in 1679. The X-ray above shows see a scan of Bishop Winstrup’s head

The bishop’s body was first discovered in a perfectly well-preserved state when, in 1833, his crypt was partially demolished, leaving behind a portrait (pictured in red).

The body was first discovered in a perfectly well-preserved state when in 1833 his crypt was partially demolished, to create a portrait.

His body was later resealed in the church and the only other image of the body appeared when archaeologists opened his coffin in 1923.

However, in 2013, the Cathedral Parish received permission to remove Bishop Winstrup’s coffin and bury him in the Northern Cemetery.

The 17th-century Swede was excavated and closely analyzed for 15 months before being put on display the day before his burial in the church grounds.

Scans of the bearded Lutheran churchman’s skeleton show that he had been ill for a long time and was probably bedridden at the time of his death.

According to staff at the Lund University History Center, the bishop’s relics attracted record crowds when they were displayed for one day in December 2015, with more than 3,000 people staying up all night to catch a glimpse his body.

The hall was forced to extend its opening hours to 10pm to ensure people could see the rest of the show.