Dario Piombino-Mascali

Dario Piombino-Mascali
Vilnius University · Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology

PhD

About

89
Publications
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Introduction
I am a biological anthropologist focusing on ancient human mummies. I created and head the "Sicily Mummy Project" aimed at investigating the human corpses held in my native island. I have studied mummies from several crypts and churches, including bodies of saints and relics, members of the nobility such as the Medici family, some bog bodies and a number of Egyptian mummies. I am also interested in ethics applied to human remains, love books, antiques, and museums. Twitter: @dariopiombino

Publications

Publications (89)
Article
Background: A medieval mummy known as the Blessed Antonio (Patrizi) is held in the church of Saints Peter and Paul at Monticiano, Sienna, central Italy.Objectives: The aim of our investigation was to complete a biological profile of the subject, as well as to assess the impact of deterioration to the concerned remains.Methods: As a follow-up of our...
Article
Full-text available
I this study, we examine human skeletal remains from the church of San Francis of Paola located in the small town of Sant’Angelo di Brolo, in the Italian region of Sicily. The preserved skeletal remains were temporarily transferred from their permanent resting place in the crypt for a macroscopic examination and evaluation. Various established meth...
Article
Full-text available
Objective To explore care that was likely provided to an adult male amputee from medieval Lithuania, positioning analysis within what is known of contemporary amputation practices. Materials Three sets of skeletal remains with evidence for amputation, dating to between the 13th-17th centuries AD and recovered during different archaeological excava...
Article
Objective To present a case of possible paralysis from early modern Vilnius and to discuss the potential level of care that was provided in the society of that time. Materials A partially disturbed skeleton of a young female from a 16th-17th century Orthodox Christian cemetery. Methods Macroscopic, osteometric and X-ray examinations coupled with...
Article
In the summer of 2019, members of the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University were summoned by the diocese of Telšiai to carry out an investigation of the mortal remains of Juozapas Arnulfas Giedraitis and Simonas Mykolas Giedraitis, two high religious dignitaries entombed in the crypt of the parish of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles, at Varniai...
Article
This paper reports a case study of 43 fetuses and perinates from four mass graves and two double burials from the cemetery of St Jacob in Tartu (SE Estonia). The burials were dated to the 13th‐15th centuries AD and located outside the cemetery walls, and likely can be linked to historically‐recorded episodes of famine and epidemic in medieval Livon...
Article
Examination of human remains in archaeological contexts presents significant challenges. They are frequently located within sites of religious and cultural significance and this, coupled with their often-fragile nature, necessitates their examination in situ. These sites may also be in remote locations which present major logistical challenges. The...
Article
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Two ancient Egyptian child mummies at the University of Tartu Art Museum (Estonia) were, according to museum records, brought to Estonia by the young Baltic-German scholar Otto Friedrich von Richter, who had travelled in Egypt during the early 19th century. Although some studies of the mummies were conducted, a thorough investigation has never been...
Chapter
Tattoos have been reported from human remains representing a wide range of cultures and time periods. While the practice of tattooing can be studied using a variety of types of historical evidence, antiquity leaves only naturally and deliberately preserved human skin as a direct source. Today, scholarly research recognizes the Tyrolean Iceman known...
Article
Full-text available
This article represents a summary of the author’s past 12 years of research on several mummy sets. As mummy studies expand as a sub-specialty of biological anthropology, it is important to highlight the significant contribution that the study of preserved remains can provide to both archaeology and history.
Chapter
Mummies are the preserved or partially-preserved remains of human beings. When studying mummies, researchers must understand the many ethical issues that arise from working with ancient and historic human remains. One common debate is the use of autopsy versus minimally-invasive methods of analysis for the study of mummies. This chapter considers s...
Presentation
The Capuchin church of Santa Lucia del Mela was built in 1610 in a prominent position, near the walls of this historic Sicilian village. This important architectural structure is associated with an underlying crypt and holds skeletonized and intentionally mummified remains of laymen and clergymen. Framed in the Sicily Mummy Project, a preliminary s...
Article
Various samples of human viscera fragments, sponges, and cloth were collected from embalming jars belonging to members of the Medici family of Florence. One jar was labeled with the name Vittoria della Rovere, who died in March of 1694. This jar contained viscera fragments that were identified as a section of collapsed intestine. The intestine of t...
Article
The Tyrolean Iceman is the world oldest glacier mummy. He was found in September 1991 in the Italian part of the Ötztal Alps. Since his discovery a variety of morphological, radiological and molecular analyses have been performed that revealed detailed insights into his state of health. Despite the various pathological conditions found in the Icema...
Article
The aim of this article was to describe the outcome of a probable case of physical abuse in the remains of a child dating from the 16th-18th centuries CE. The skeleton of a subadult was recovered during archaeological excavations carried out in the village of Užubaliai, located in Alytus in southern Lithuania, and subsequently curated in the Facult...
Article
The authors report on the assessment of an anthropogenic mummy of a young man from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, tentatively dated from the mid- to late 19th century AD. The mummy was investigated by full-body CT examination. CT images clearly showed aortic dissection classified as Stanford-A. Due to the relation of aortic dissection t...
Article
Skeletal evidence of beheading in early modern Lithuania has been scarce, despite historical documentation indicating it as a popular practice. This study presents the first bioarchaeological cases of decapitation in early modern Lithuania, with four adult male individuals from the 14th-17th centuries A.D. that reveal evidence of perimortem lesions...
Article
In this study we applied the recently developed "Checklist and Scoring System for the Assessment of Soft Tissue Preservation in Human Mummies" to catacomb mummies from Palermo, Sicily. Data from twenty-three full-body computed tomography (CT) examinations were available. These consisted of seventeen adults and six children dating from the late 18th...
Article
Full-text available
An anthropogenic human mummy curated in the Museum of the History of Medicine, Vilnius University, was recently examined by means of computed tomography. Although the mummy lacked data regarding its specific context and historical information on its identity and chronology, the investigation focused on the embalming method adopted to preserve it. S...
Book
Full-text available
The desire to alter and adorn the human body is universal. While specific forms of body decoration, and the underlying motivations, vary according to region, culture, and era, all human societies have engaged in practices designed to augment and enhance their natural appearance. Tattooing, the process of inserting pigment into the skin to create pe...
Article
Full-text available
The province of Benguet, situated in North Luzon, the Philippines, holds a large number of ancient mummified remains, mostly located within the municipality of Kabayan. Such bodies are mainly associated to the Ibaloy – one of the indigenous groups collectively known as Igorot – and are stored in natural rockshelters or caves carved into the stone,...
Article
We report on the scientific and historical study of a mummy associated with an Egyptian coffin once belonging to Count Aleksander Branicki, an important Polish collector who took part in two private expeditions to Egypt during the mid-nineteenth century. Recently the object was submitted for radiological investigation, as well as radiocarbon dating...
Article
Purpose Soft tissues make a skeleton into a mummy and they allow for a diagnosis beyond osteology. Following the approach of structured reporting in clinical radiology, a recently developed checklist was used to evaluate the soft tissue preservation status of the Tyrolean Iceman using computed tomography (CT). The purpose of this study was to apply...
Article
Within the framework of the Sicily Mummy Project, the orofacial complex of a significant sample of individuals (n = 111) from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy, was inspected. The heads and dentitions of the mummies were documented and the recorded findings describe: the state of preservation of skeletal and soft tissues; dental pathologies...
Article
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo contain over 1800 bodies dating from the 16th-20th centuries. Human remains and other materials within the catacombs are currently infested by a variety of insect pest species. To evaluate the community of organisms associated with these materials, the activity and abundance of insect pests were investigated. Stick...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on taphonomic processes that lead to, and affect, mummified human remains. It provides an overview of natural mummification processes and the taphonomy of such bodies, applicable to both the archaeological and forensic settings. The importance of knowing the environment from which the mummified remains were recovered, and the c...
Chapter
The investigation of care in the bioarchaeological record has focused on two broad circumstances: (1) long-term survival with disability in which functional independence is impossible and (2) healed/healing trauma or illness that would have necessitated intervention or care to ensure recovery and survival. These conditions reflect relatively extrem...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the first radiological investigation of a collection of Sicilian mummies held in a crypt beneath the Mother Church of Piraino, Italy. The chamber contains 26 preserved bodies of religious dignitaries, either conserved vertically in special wall niches or horizontally on wooden shelves. The majority of bodies are clothed, and tra...
Article
Smallpox holds a unique position in the history of medicine. It was the first disease for which a vaccine was developed and remains the only human disease eradicated by vaccination. Although there have been claims of smallpox in Egypt, India, and China dating back millennia [1-4], the timescale of emergence of the causative agent, variola virus (VA...
Article
Full-text available
Smallpox holds a unique position in the history of medicine. It was the first disease for which a vaccine was developed and remains the only human disease eradicated by vaccination. Although there have been claims of smallpox in Egypt, India, and China dating back millennia [1–4], the timescale of emergence of the causative agent, variola virus (VA...
Article
Full-text available
Among the collections belonging to the National Museum of Lithuania at Vilnius, resides an ancient Egyptian coffin containing a mummified human body. The coffin and its occupant are believed to have belonged to the King of Poland and to have been located in his palace at Warsaw. At the turn of the last century, Egyptologists dated the coffin to the...
Article
Full-text available
The discovery of dipteran remains on mummified individuals can lead to either cause for curatorial concern or to a better understanding of the individual's post-mortem environment. The present study analyzed insect remains associated with the body of a unique medieval mummy of religious significance, that of the Blessed Antonio Patrizi da Montician...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to develop a checklist for standardized assessment of soft tissue preservation in human mummies based on whole-body computed tomography examinations, and to add a scoring system to facilitate quantitative comparison of mummies. Computed tomography examinations of 23 mummies from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicil...
Article
Biomechanics Laboratory, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, AustriaABSTRACTMummified remains have been successfully studied radiologicallysince the end of the 19th century, giving rise to a specific field ofresearch—paleoradiology. In this paper, we present the results of the firstradiological investigation of a collection of Sicilian mummies...
Article
Archaeoparasitological analyses of human remains can present interpretative challenges arising from diverse preservation environments. Three archaeoparasitological studies are used to demonstrate the impacts of five major types of taphonomic factors on parasite egg preservation. In the first case, an analysis of a historic Lithuanian mummy revealed...
Article
Full-text available
Within the framework of the Lithuanian Mummy Project, a scientific investigation of the mummified human remains found in Lithuania, the authors of this paper attempted to gather as much information as possible in order to promote and expand the knowledge about the corpses held in the crypt of the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius. The...
Article
Full-text available
In the present study, the abdominal contents of 10 mummies from beneath the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, were examined for the presence of helminth parasites using standard archaeoparasitological techniques. Of the mummies examined, only one individual presented with evidence of parasitism. This individual was infected...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Through the study of preserved human remains, it is now known that atherosclerosis, commonly thought to be a modern disease, also existed in historic and prehistoric periods. To date, however, little evidence of atherosclerosis has been reported in samples of tissues from spontaneously mummified bodies that are often found in European c...
Article
Full-text available
Since 2011, ancient Egyptian mummified human remains from collections in Lithuania have been subjected to scientific analysis in an attempt to assess the lives and deaths of the individuals, and how their bodies were treated after death in order to achieve bodily preservation. In total, six mummies were stu-died using computed tomography to obtain...
Article
Full-text available
This report examines the bone lesions found during CT investigations of mummies from the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithua-nia. Observed pathological conditions include a single fracture, osteoarthritis, malpositions and dental disease, as well as some normal variants of the human skeleton. These palaeopathological data provide...
Article
Full-text available
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy, contain over 1800 mummies dating from the 16th to 20th centuries AD. Their environment is not conducive to the conservation of the remains due to, among other factors, water infiltration, which is producing salt efflorescences on the walls. A multiphasic approach was applied to investigate the halophilic mi...
Article
Full-text available
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo contain over 1800 preserved bodies spanning the 16th-20th centuries A.D., many of which now show serious evidence of biodeterioration. In order to protect these remains, an extensive microbiological and molecular investigation was performed to clarify which biological agents are involved in the ongoing deterioratio...
Article
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo contain over 1800 preserved bodies: friars, priests and laypeople including men, women, and children. The bodies were accessible to family members who could visit the deceased and commemorate them through prayers. The "Sicily Mummy Project" analyzed hair samples from 38 mummies to determine the presence of ethyl gl...
Article
We undertook the analysis of Zweeloo Woman, a bog mummy from the Netherlands, to assess her parasitic state. Evidence of infection came from two areas: (1) liver paraffin sections and (2) microfossils washed from an intestinal section. Although the liver had shrunken considerably, objects consistent with operculated trematode eggsvwere found. After...
Data
Phylogenetic affiliations of the archaeal partial 16S rRNA coding sequences detected in the Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo.
Data
Phylogenetic affiliations of the partial 16S rRNA coding sequences obtained from human remains held in the Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo.
Data
Phylogenetic affiliations of the partial 16S rRNA coding sequences obtained from wall materials collected in the Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo.
Data
Phylogenetic affiliations of the fungal ITS coding sequences obtained from human remains held in the Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo.
Article
Full-text available
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo contain over 1800 preserved bodies dating from the 16(th) -20(th) centuries AD and showing evidence of biodeterioration. An extensive microbiological and molecular investigation was performed. Samples were taken from skin, muscle, hair, bone, stuffing materials, clothes and surrounding walls as well as from the ind...