Saturday, January 23, 2010

Relics of Joan of Arc

From Discovery News:
The so-called "relics of Joan of Arc," overseen by the Archbishop of Tours in Chinon, France, do not contain the charred remains of the Catholic saint.

Rather, the artifacts consist of a mummified cat leg bone and human rib, both dating to the 6th-3rd century B.C., according to a new study.

The "relics," which have fooled onlookers for decades, did resemble burnt bones, in keeping with historical accounts of the death of Joan of Arc (ca. 1412-1431), who was convicted of heresy and executed by burning.

Medical examiners, pathologists, geneticists, biochemists, a radiologist, zoologist and archaeologist all participated in the extensive study, which was accepted for publication in the journal Forensic Science International.

The bottle containing the bones first surfaced at a pharmacy in 1867. Its label read: "Remains found under the pyre of Joan of Arc, maiden of Orleans."

Different techniques, including DNA analysis, several forms of microscopy, chemical analysis and carbon dating, were used to examine the bottle's contents.

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.

From National Geographic 4th April 2007:
The charred bones that were long believed to be remains of St. Joan of Arc don't belong to the French heroine but are instead the remains of an Egyptian mummy, a new study has shown.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Paris, France, obtained permission last year to study the relics from the church in Normandy where they are housed.

1 comment:

sallyhanan said...

Oh my! Even in 1867 they had scams.