Case The Nobleman and saint Philomena

The mummified remains of a male were recently discovered in a crypt below the floorboards of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Popoli, Italy (Ventura et al. 2002). It was first believed that the remains were those of a priest based on the burial location in the sacristy within the church. The remains were well preserved, and after a radiographic examination conducted in the crypt, a coin-sized metallic object was seen at the side of the mummy, and further verified by CT scan (Figure 7.27). A pouch underneath the overcoat of the mummy, which contained the object, was visualized via endoscopy and extracted under endoscopic

Figure 7.27 Axial CT image of a coin-sized metallic object found within the folds of clothing of the Nobleman of Popoli (see text).
Figure 7.28 Endoscopic image of a small pouch that contained the medallion of Saint Philomena in direct association with the Nobleman of Popoli.

guidance (Figure 7.28). The pouch was opened, and what was thought to be a coin was in fact a medallion of Saint Philomena (Figure 7.29). Saint Philomena was canonized in 1837; therefore, the individual could not have been interred prior to that date since this artifact was intimately associated with the remains.

Figure 7.29 Artifacts discovered within the pouch of the Nobleman from Popoli. The medallion of Saint Philomena (arrow) was among the items.

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