Bioanthropological and paleopathological study of the Sicily mummies (1500-1900 AD)
The Sicily Mummy Project represents a unique opportunity to investigate a large series of mainly naturally but also anthropogenically mummified bodies spanning the 16th-20th centuries AD. In collaboration with the Sicilian authorities we will have access to more than 2000 mummies of different areas in Sicily. During this project we are planning to investigate a significant collection of different mummies with the following working steps:
1. Morphological inspection of the different mummies with a description of conservational status and possible detection of any pathologicial alterations. In case of artificial mummification by embalming or other techniques, the process will be analyzed.
2. A detailed radiological investigation of selected mummies will be performed through conventional radiographs and CT scans of the whole body. This technique allows a non-invasive investigation of the mummies and represents the bases for further analytical procedures.
3. Tissue samples from selected mummies will be taken for the evaluation of the preservation status and the following analyses.
4. Tissue samples will be subjected to a histological analysis for the evaluation of degenerative processes and the detection of pathological conditions.
5. Nanotechnological investigations of selected tissue samples will be performed in order to obtain information on the presence and conservation of biomolecules.
6. Molecular identification of pathogens by PCR amplification and subsequent sequencing.
7. The results obtained will be studied in detail and regularly published throughout the project.