The 17th century bishop’s tomb mystery can be solved

The question of who shared his coffin with a mummified bishop in Lund Cathedral has eluded researchers. Now the mystery seems to be solved.

Like a time capsule from 17th century Lund. This is how the naturally mummified bishop Peder Winstrup, who was taken out of the grave in 2014, has been described. The remains of the man, who was first Danish and then Swedish, have received much attention.

The bishop turned 74 years old and was buried dressed in black velvet, resting on wormwood twigs and hops in a coffin in Lund Cathedral. But he was not alone there. A small fetus in the fifth or sixth month turned out to be well hidden under the bishop’s feet.

Researchers now believe that they have arrived at who the fetus really was, Lund University writes in a press release.

The bishop’s mummy is displayed. Photo from 2015. Photo: Ola Torkelsson / TT

It is probably the bishop’s grandson, as the analysis results show that the fetus was a boy and that they were related. The relationship was of the “second degree”, ie 25 percent of their genes were on average common.

Placing a coffin in a cow is one thing, but placing the fetus in the bishop’s coffin is quite another. It made us wonder if there was any relationship between the fetus and the bishop “, says Torbjörn Ahlström, professor of historical osteology at Lund University, one of the researchers behind the study, in the press release.

Peder Winstrup was bishop of Lund 1638-1679 and skilfully balanced on both sides in the Danish-Swedish conflict. He also took the initiative to found Lund University.


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