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 贞德遗骸与埃及木乃伊——来自Nature的科学8g

本文转自2007年4月5日出版的Nature,Nature有时候也很八卦,呵呵。

Joan of Arc's relics exposed as forgery

by Declan Butler

The relics of St Joan of Arc are not the remains of the fifteenth-century French heroine after all, according to European experts who have analysed the sacred scraps. Instead, they say the relics are a forgery, made from the remains of an Egyptian mummy.

Joan was burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen, Normandy. The relics were discovered in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, with the inscription "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans". They were recognized by the Church, and are now housed in a museum in Chinon that belongs to the Archdiocese of Tours.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Garches, near Paris, obtained permission to study the relics from the French church last year. He says he was "astonished" by the results. "I'd never have thought that it could be from a mummy."

I'd never have thought that it could be from a mummy.
Charlier and his colleagues didn't have much to work with: the relics comprise a charred-looking human rib, chunks of what seem to be carbonized wood, a 15-centimetre fragment of linen and a cat femur — consistent with the medieval practice of throwing black cats onto the pyre of supposed witches.

Sniff tests
The researchers used a battery of techniques to investigate the remains, including mass, infrared and atomic-emission spectrometry, electron microscopy, pollen analysis and, unusually, the help of the leading 'noses' of the perfume industry: Sylvaine Delacourte from Guerlain, and Jean-Michel Duriez from Jean Patou.

Odour analysis is a new technique for palaeopathology, but Charlier says that he hit on the idea after being struck by the variety of odours of other historical corpses. Delacourte and Duriez sniffed the relics and nine other samples of bone and hair from Charlier's lab without being told what the samples were. They were also not allowed to confer. Both smelled hints of 'burnt plaster' and 'vanilla' in the samples from the relics.

The plaster smell was consistent with the fact that Joan of Arc was burnt on a plaster stake, not a wooden one, to make the whole macabre spectacle last longer. But vanilla is inconsistent with cremation. "Vanillin is produced during decomposition of a body," says Charlier. "You would find it in a mummy, but not in someone who was burnt."

Other, more conventional, evidence pointing to a mummy origin quickly accumulated. Microscopic and chemical analysis of the black crust on the rib and on the cat femur showed that they were not in fact burnt, but were impregnated with a vegetal and mineral matrix, with no trace of muscle, skin, fat or hair. "I see burnt remains all the time in my job," says Charlier. "It was obviously not burnt tissue."

The black material was, however, consistent with an embalming mix of wood resins, bitumen and chemicals such as malachite. It was also consistent with gypsum, which gives the mix its plaster smell. The linen cloth had a coating characteristic of mummy wrappings. And large amounts of pine pollen were present. Pine trees did not grow in Normandy at the time that Joan of Arc was killed, but pine resin was used widely in Egypt during embalming.

Two other lines of evidence seem to clinch the mummy origin. Carbon-14 analysis dated the remains to between the third and sixth centuries BC. And the spectrometry profiles of the rib, femur and black chunks matched those from Egyptian mummies from the period, and not those of burnt bones.

Charlier points out that mummies were used in Europe during the Middle Ages in pharmaceutical remedies. The 1867 discovery date also fits the period when Joan of Arc, who had been forgotten for centuries, was rediscovered by historians and created as a national myth. Someone might have forged the relics at this time in an attempt to reinforce her importance.

"It is a fascinating project," says Anastasia Tsaliki, a palaeopathologist at the University of Durham, UK. Palaeopathology is a small but emerging field that attempts to use forensic science to inform history, traditionally a social science. "Philippe's work goes a step further by showing how forensic methods can be combined with tools used in archaeometry, archaeobotany and osteology," says Tsaliki.

Fire-proof organs
Part of the legend of Joan of Arc springs from the observation, documented in historical records, that some of her organs resisted the fire. Hundreds of pages of surviving manuscripts describe in vivid detail how she was burnt three times over to try to ensure that nothing but ash remained, and so prevent her remains being worshipped. The observation of remaining organs was interpreted as a miracle.

But science has another explanation. "In fact, it is very difficult to totally cremate a body; organs such as the heart and intestines, which have a high water content, are very resistant to fire," says Charlier. "We see it all the time in forensics."

Debunking the relics of Joan of Arc will be less controversial than doing the same for the Shroud of Turin, but is still likely to generate large public interest, especially in France. The Church is ready to accept the results, according to Charlier.
But I could have told you, this world has never meant for one as beautiful as you.
Posted: 2007-05-01 03:29 | [楼 主]
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大意:

圣女贞德遗骸被曝为赝品

作者:Declan Butler

传说中圣女贞德的遗骸最近被欧洲科学家发现实际上是取材于埃及木乃伊的赝品。

贞德于1431年在诺曼底卢昂被施以火刑。一个装有她遗骸的罐子于1867年在巴黎一个药店的阁楼里被发现。在得到教会认可后,这份遗骸保存在Chinon的一间博物馆里。

去年,Raymond Poincaré 医院的鉴证科学家Philippe Charlier获得准许对这份遗骸进行研究。他为研究结果所震惊:“怎么也想不到遗骸来自木乃伊!”

遗骸包括了一块黑糊糊的的人类肋骨,几块类似碳化木头的东西,一条15厘米长的亚麻线,和一截猫腿骨——中世纪烧女巫的时候会扔只黑猫进去一起烧。

嗅觉实验

研究小组采用了质谱,红外,原子辐射光谱,电镜,花粉等等方法折腾“贞德遗骸”。除此之外,还不同寻常地请来了著名香水品牌娇兰和让巴度的嗅觉大师帮助分析。

嗅觉分析是考古病理学的一种新技术。Charlier说各种古尸的不同气味给他这个灵感。两位嗅觉大师分别对包括遗骸在内的10分样品进行了盲测,他们都从遗骸中闻出了“烧过的石膏”和“香草”的味道。

石膏味与当时为了增加痛苦,火刑在石膏柱而非木柱上进行的事实吻合。但香草味却不符合火葬。香草醛是在尸体分解过程中会产生的一种物质,你会在木乃伊中发现,但却不会在被烧死的人身上发现。

其他证据也显示遗骸来自木乃伊。显微和化学分析显示肋骨上的黑色硬壳和猫腿骨表明他们并非被焚烧,却受过一种植物和矿物混合的液体浸渍处理,而没有肌肉,皮肤和毛发的痕迹。

黑色的物质包括树脂,沥青,孔雀石等等成分,他们混合发出石膏味。亚麻纤维也符合包裹木乃伊的材料。大量松树花粉被发现。在圣女贞德时期的诺曼底并没有松树,但松树脂在埃及被广泛运用。

碳十四显示遗骸来自于公元前3-6世纪(这个铁证如山啊)~光谱测定也显示遗骸数据和木乃伊吻合,而非被烧过的骨头。

在中世纪欧洲,木乃伊被用来入药。发现遗骸的时间与圣女贞德在被遗忘若干世纪后重新被历史认可,并上升为一个神话的时间如此吻合。人们可能在那个时候伪造了遗骸以提升她的重要程度。

考古病理学是运用鉴证科学澄清历史的一个途径,而通常历史只是一门社会科学。英国Durham大学的考古病理学家Anastasia Tsaliki认为这项研究现实鉴证科学在考古定代学,古植物学,骨学中都可被应用。

耐火器官

一些历史记载表明圣女贞德德某些器官不能被焚烧。历史文献不厌其烦地描述贞德曾经被三次焚烧以确保只有灰烬留下,以避免她的遗骸被崇拜。她在火刑中残留下来的器官被认为是一项奇迹。

但科学家的解释是:实际上人的身体很难被完全火化,一些含水量高的器官如心脏和肠非常地耐火。

揭穿圣女贞德的遗骸并没有如对“都灵的耶稣裹尸布”的研究那样引起争议,但仍然可能引起公众的关注,尤其是在法国。
Charlier表示教会已经接受了这一结果。

[ 此贴被折光暗语在2007-05-01 04:33重新编辑 ]
But I could have told you, this world has never meant for one as beautiful as you.
Posted: 2007-05-01 04:26 | 1 楼
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