The natural mummy of Saint Davino Armeno (11th century) is preserved in the church of Saint Michele in Foro in the city of Lucca (Tuscany, Central Italy). The body of Davino is one of the oldest Italian mummies of a Saint, and his paleopathological study was performed in 2018. In the present research, we investigated the arthropod fragments and botanical remains collected from the body, coffin, and fabrics of Saint Davino. Entomological analyses outlined the presence of 192 arthropod fragments. Among these, Diptera, Muscidae (Hydrotaea capensis and Muscina sp.), and Phoridae (Conicera sp.) puparia were the most abundant. Regarding Coleoptera, Ptinidae (Anobium punctatum) were the most frequent, followed by Cleridae (Necrobia sp.), Trogidae (Trox scaber), Curculionidae (Sitophilus granarius), and Histeridae (Gnathoncus). Cocoons of Tineidae and Pyralidae moths were found, along with a propodeum joined to the petiole and a mesopleuron of an Ichneumoninae parasitoid. Numerous metamera of Julida and three scorpion fragments were also found. Botanical samples indicated the presence of a quite broad botanical community, including gramineous species, olives, evergreen oaks, and grapevine. Overall, entomological data allow us to argue that Saint Davino was first buried into the soil, probably in a wooden coffin, thus supporting the historical-hagiographic tradition according to which he was buried sub divo in the cemetery of Saint Michele. The preservation of the body as a natural mummy may have been facilitated by burial in a coffin that prevented direct contact of the corpse with the earth. Botanical remains offer confirmation of a late medieval urban environment rich in horticultural areas and trees, giving us a landscape that is very different from the current Tuscan city.

Back to the Middle Ages: Entomological and Botanical Elements Reveal New Aspects of the Burial of Saint Davino of Armenia

Augusto Loni;Stefano Vanin;Antonio Fornaciari;Paolo Emilio Tomei;Valentina Giuffra;Giovanni Benelli
2022-01-01

Abstract

The natural mummy of Saint Davino Armeno (11th century) is preserved in the church of Saint Michele in Foro in the city of Lucca (Tuscany, Central Italy). The body of Davino is one of the oldest Italian mummies of a Saint, and his paleopathological study was performed in 2018. In the present research, we investigated the arthropod fragments and botanical remains collected from the body, coffin, and fabrics of Saint Davino. Entomological analyses outlined the presence of 192 arthropod fragments. Among these, Diptera, Muscidae (Hydrotaea capensis and Muscina sp.), and Phoridae (Conicera sp.) puparia were the most abundant. Regarding Coleoptera, Ptinidae (Anobium punctatum) were the most frequent, followed by Cleridae (Necrobia sp.), Trogidae (Trox scaber), Curculionidae (Sitophilus granarius), and Histeridae (Gnathoncus). Cocoons of Tineidae and Pyralidae moths were found, along with a propodeum joined to the petiole and a mesopleuron of an Ichneumoninae parasitoid. Numerous metamera of Julida and three scorpion fragments were also found. Botanical samples indicated the presence of a quite broad botanical community, including gramineous species, olives, evergreen oaks, and grapevine. Overall, entomological data allow us to argue that Saint Davino was first buried into the soil, probably in a wooden coffin, thus supporting the historical-hagiographic tradition according to which he was buried sub divo in the cemetery of Saint Michele. The preservation of the body as a natural mummy may have been facilitated by burial in a coffin that prevented direct contact of the corpse with the earth. Botanical remains offer confirmation of a late medieval urban environment rich in horticultural areas and trees, giving us a landscape that is very different from the current Tuscan city.
2022
Loni, Augusto; Vanin, Stefano; Fornaciari, Antonio; Tomei, Paolo; Giuffra, Valentina; Benelli, Giovanni
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1161925
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