21 May 2018

Baby's hand mummified by copper coin

The remains are currently on display at Hungary’s Móra Ferenc Museum.

From inspecting the tiny skeleton, Dr. Balázs determined the deceased was either a stillbirth or premature baby that died shortly after birth. The researchers concluded the child was 11 to 13 inches and weighed only one or two pounds...

The team concluded that before the child was placed in the pot and buried, someone put the copper coin into its hand. Many cultures in antiquity have buried their dead with coins as a way to pay a mythical ferryman to take their souls into the afterlife.

In this case, the copper’s antimicrobial properties protected the child’s hand from decay. Along with the conditions inside the vessel, it helped mummify the baby’s grasp. The team thinks this child’s burial may be one of the first reported cases in the scientific literature of copper-driven mummification. 
The rest of the story is at The New York Times.


  1. https://www.theonion.com/14th-severed-foot-washes-ashore-in-pacific-northwest-1826193866

  2. And they say you can't take it with you...


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