Osteobiography of Vicar Rungius:analyses of the bones and tissues of the mummy of an early 17th-century Northern Finnish clergyman using radiology and stable isotopes

by T (Tiina) Vre

Institution: University of Oulu
Year: 2017
Keywords: Northern Finland; church archaeology; computed tomography; mummification; paleopathology; stable isotopes; Pohjois-Suomi; kirkkoarkeologia; muumioituminen; paleopatologia; stabiili-isotoopit; tietokonetomografia
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2154498
Full text PDF: http://urn.fi/urn:isbn:9789526215259


AbstractThis dissertation is a pioneering effort in a project to document, preserve and study the human remains found beneath old Northern Finnish churches. These remains have spontaneously mummified as a result of the early modern elites practice of burying under church floors. The main subject of the study is an early 17th-century Vicar of the Kemi parish, Nikolaus Rungius, and his mummified remains. His mummy that still is an important tourist attraction and a popular character in local lore, has a unique history as it has been exhibited since the 18th-century.The computed tomography scanning performed on the mummy revealed pathological findings suggesting that the Vicar suffered from obesity-related conditions. The most convincing of these was the manifestation of DISH in his thoracic spine. There were also indications of tuberculosis, such as a probable Potts spine, as well as calcifications, for example, in subareolar regions. The latter may also represent gynaecomastia, which currently is a rather common finding in elderly men.The scans also provided information concerning the preservation. In addition to the right forearm that was lost by the mid-19th-century, six cervical vertebrae are missing. The head still appears to be attached through a continuous band of soft tissue, and has likely belonged to the same person as the rest of the body.Both the Vicars dental health examined through the scans, and the results of the stable isotope analyses (13C, 15N) of his nail keratin, along with the obesity-related findings, indicated a rather heavy diet rich in protein. This is in line with what is known about the early modern Northern Finnish diets. They were mainly based on foodstuffs acquired by hunting, fishing and animal husbandry. These interpretations also comport with the Vicars status, and assumed wealth. Typically, the clergy could maintain abundant diets. Even manifestations of DISH are rather commonly found in remains from monastery sites.The Vicars 15N value was elevated in comparison to the values of the control group comprised of other early modern human remains in Northern Finnish churches. This discrepancy may be due to a stronger input of dietary protein sourced from top aquatic predators, such as the seal. Another plausible explanation could be the connection between the elevated 15N value and DISH previously found by several authors. TiivistelmTm vitstutkimus on osa projektia, jonka pmrn on vanhojen pohjoissuomalaisten kirkkojen alla lepvien muumioituneiden vainajien dokumentointi, silyttminen ja tutkimus. Muumioitumisen taustalla on varhaisen uuden ajan eliitin tapa haudata kirkkojen lattioidenalaisiin tiloihin. Tutkimuksen pkohteena on 1600-luvun alun Kemin seurakunnan kirkkoherran, Nikolaus Rungiuksen hyvin silynyt ruumis. Kirkkoherran muumiolla on ainutlaatuinen historia, sill se on ollut nhtvill 1700-luvulta lhtien. Tm paikallistaruston hyvin tuntema hahmo on edelleenkin trke turistikohde.Muumion tietokonetomografinenAdvisors/Committee Members: Niskanen, M. (Markku), Junno, J. (Juho-Antti).