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Medici's Secret Crypt Unearthed
The Guardian (UK) ^ | 7-8-2004 | John Hooper

Posted on 07/11/2004 12:25:26 PM PDT by blam

Medicis' secret crypt unearthed

John Hooper in Rome
Thursday July 8, 2004
The Guardian (UK)

A long-rumoured secret crypt of Italy's mighty Medici family was discovered by scientists yesterday after a hunt reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. The vaulted chamber was found under a stone floor behind the main altar of the Medici chapels in the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. Under the gaze of sculptures by Michelangelo and his pupils, researchers lifted a stone slab to find seven steps leading down to the entrance. According to Italian media reports, the hidden crypt is between 2.1 metres (7ft) and 2.4 metres high and six metres by at least four metres wide.

Yesterday's discovery is the latest development in a remarkable project. Since last month, a team of paleopathologists from American and Italian universities have been digging up the bodies of 49 members of the Medici family buried in the church of San Lorenzo.

They aim to carry out tests to build a picture of the lives - and deaths - of a ruling elite that held power in Florence and much of Tuscany for more than three centuries.

On Tuesday researchers opened the tomb of the last of the dynasty, the grand duke Gian Gastone de' Medici - and were astonished to find it empty.

Gino Fornaciari, of Florence University, told the Ansa news agency: "Behind a first marble panel we expected to find a second stone slab. Instead, we found a wall."

In trying to locate the final resting place of Gian Gastone, who died in 1737, they stumbled on the secret crypt. The stone slab blocking the entrance to the stairs was found a few metres away from Gian Gastone's mysteriously empty tomb.

It was known that some of the Medici family's remains were moved from their original burial places in 1857. And, according to the early 20th-century British historian GF Young, the coffins of Gian Gastone and his grandfather had been moved to a secret crypt accessible only down hidden stairs. Until yesterday's discovery, his account had been dismissed as baseless rumour.

However, inside the crypt, there were another eight bodies, one of an adult and the remaining seven of children.

Most of the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition. But one of the children had been expertly embalmed and vestiges of clothing remained on the body.

The €400,000 (£267,000) exhumation project involves scientists from the universities of Florence, Pisa, New York, Long Island and Minnesota. Even before yesterday's sensa tion, it had yielded interesting results.

The researchers are already convinced that the family was not, as previously believed, afflicted with gout, but with a severe form of arthritis. Piero de' Medici, who ruled Florence from 1464 to 1469 and was known as Piero the Gouty, was so badly crippled that he was often able to use only his tongue.

Historians hope the project will help clear up some of the puzzles about the Medicis, including the death in 1589 of Prince Francesco I, who was said to have died of malaria but is long suspected to have been poisoned.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; crypt; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; italy; medici; medicis; secret; unearthed
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1 posted on 07/11/2004 12:25:27 PM PDT by blam
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To: FairOpinion

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 07/11/2004 12:25:57 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

This is fabulous! Can't wait to hear what else they discover. What a find!!


3 posted on 07/11/2004 12:29:20 PM PDT by EggsAckley (You can't be pro small business and pro trial lawyer at the same time! ** George W. Bush)
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To: *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; blam; NukeMan; ...
"A long-rumoured secret crypt of Italy's mighty Medici family was discovered by scientists yesterday after a hunt reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. The vaulted chamber was found under a stone floor behind the main altar of the Medici chapels in the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. Under the gaze of sculptures by Michelangelo and his pupils, researchers lifted a stone slab to find seven steps leading down to the entrance. According to Italian media reports, the hidden crypt is between 2.1 metres (7ft) and 2.4 metres high and six metres by at least four metres wide. "

PING

This is a "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" -- Archeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc. PING list.

Please FREEPMAIL me, if you want on or off this list.

4 posted on 07/11/2004 12:29:59 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: FairOpinion; blam

This is very interesting. The Medici famiy has always fascinated me, most modern politics can be traced to them. I hope the find out more.


5 posted on 07/11/2004 12:36:38 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: EggsAckley

Where's Geraldo!


6 posted on 07/11/2004 12:39:24 PM PDT by BunnySlippers (Must get moose and squirrel ... B. Badanov)
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To: blam

bump...


7 posted on 07/11/2004 12:40:53 PM PDT by danneskjold ("Somebody is behind this..." - George Soros)
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To: blam

Thanks for the post. The Medici family has always held great fascination for me.


8 posted on 07/11/2004 12:42:17 PM PDT by Irish Eyes
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To: blam

Interesting


9 posted on 07/11/2004 12:43:33 PM PDT by rwfromkansas ("Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: BunnySlippers

You beat me to it!


10 posted on 07/11/2004 12:43:59 PM PDT by nuke_road_warrior
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To: blam

BTTT


11 posted on 07/11/2004 12:44:14 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: BunnySlippers

LOL!


12 posted on 07/11/2004 12:45:12 PM PDT by EggsAckley (You can't be pro small business and pro trial lawyer at the same time! ** George W. Bush)
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To: blam

Hey...I don't have to put the other stuff back now, do I ?!!

What ever happened to "finders keepers?"

Well...some of the bones I can't put back.

Sorry.


13 posted on 07/11/2004 12:47:32 PM PDT by PoorMuttly ("BE Reagan !")
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To: EggsAckley

The "news" will be broadcast by Jerry Rivers on local channels.


14 posted on 07/11/2004 12:50:11 PM PDT by pointsal
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To: joanie-f; snopercod

Hillary's filing cabinet, discovered.


15 posted on 07/11/2004 12:51:34 PM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: blam

Digging up the dead? This is weird.


16 posted on 07/11/2004 12:52:54 PM PDT by I got the rope
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To: blam

Oh, wow.


17 posted on 07/11/2004 12:57:51 PM PDT by Desdemona (The dog days have officially hit. Go Cards!)
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To: Irish Eyes

You should check out the exhibition in Memphis about the Medici: http://www.wonders.org/current/index.htm


18 posted on 07/11/2004 1:03:54 PM PDT by John Thornton
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To: I got the rope
Digging up the dead? This is weird.

Dammit ! this means several hundred additional democrat voters...

19 posted on 07/11/2004 1:36:50 PM PDT by Wil H
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To: lepton

bookmark bump


20 posted on 07/11/2004 1:54:07 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: John Thornton
I've been there twice to see the artifacts. The exhibition is excellent.
21 posted on 07/11/2004 4:46:22 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (In memory of S/Sgt. Segundo "Dean" Baldanado, Albuquerque, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: First_Salute

Gerraldo was there.


22 posted on 07/11/2004 5:12:50 PM PDT by snopercod (What we have lost will not be returned to us.)
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To: blam

Did they find Jimmy Hoffa?


23 posted on 07/11/2004 5:18:07 PM PDT by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace (Michael <a href = "http://www.michaelmoore.com/" title="Miserable Failure">"Miserable Failure"</a>)
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To: blam
I highly recommend this book (see my Amazon review nick is "HolyOlio"), and da Vinci and Machiavelli lived in Florence during the time of the Medici:
Fortune Is a River: Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavellis Magnificent Dream to Change the Course of Florentine History Fortune Is a River:
Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli's
Magnificent Dream
to Change the Course of Florentine History

by Roger D. Masters

24 posted on 07/11/2004 6:53:12 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: blam

If anyone finds my lost pawn ticket, please let me know...I've been hoping to get my watch back.


25 posted on 07/11/2004 7:01:25 PM PDT by gorush (Exterminate the Moops!)
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To: blam
"Most of the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition." Ya think?

Thanks blam for your usual interesting post.

26 posted on 07/11/2004 7:08:09 PM PDT by fuzzthatwuz
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To: msdrby

ping


27 posted on 07/11/2004 7:39:12 PM PDT by Professional Engineer (Publisher - The Engineer's Guide to Fashion. Get your copy today.)
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To: blam

got a bit of the Medici sage on the re-run of NOVA's show on Galileo today.


28 posted on 07/11/2004 7:43:24 PM PDT by VOA
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To: John Thornton

Thanks for the link. I took a quick look at it, looks like some interesting info under the press section. Bookmarked it .


29 posted on 07/11/2004 7:56:26 PM PDT by Irish Eyes
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To: FairOpinion

WOW...this is an incredible find! Thanks for the ping.


30 posted on 07/11/2004 9:18:54 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: blam

The Medicis had ornate rings with compartments for poison. When you weren't looking, they spiked your Snapple...


31 posted on 07/11/2004 9:26:49 PM PDT by 185JHP ( "Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, invincible in battle."u)
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To: blam

The dead should be allowed to rest.

Beauseant!

32 posted on 07/11/2004 9:33:40 PM PDT by Lancelot Jones (Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.)
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To: blam

As a Conservative I am appalled at this desecration of the final resting places of these great men and women. Not only did they make elaborate plans to bury themselves they gave the world some of it's very greatest art in the process, art which has been shared with the world for hundreds of years.

These are not anonymous paupers or pre-historic remains of archeological significance. These are the well known remains of historic individuals. They should be left to rest in peace as they intended and not disturbed for the amusement of moderns.

To think that our transitory desires over ride the dictates of tradition and decency if a fundametally liberal position. Just as marraige is no longer a sacred bond, the tomb too is apparently only a temporary resting place until some govt. agency decides they want to 'investigate'.

Has all decency fled our world? Why is everyone on this conservative forum so enthusiastic about this desecration?


33 posted on 07/11/2004 9:38:34 PM PDT by Jack Black
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To: I got the rope
Digging up the dead? This is weird.

I gotta agree. As rotten as most of the Medici's were, the predelection of scientists to disturb graves--of people not that ancient either--is kind of disturbing.

You have to think that these people when they died, didn't expect their great-great....grand-kids to dig them up again just out of curiousity.

It's happening all over Europe, people who were given a decent Christian burial are now being exhumed, all in the name of science. I don't think the science to be learned for this makes up for the disrepect of the dead.

Knowing whether a Medici was poisoned, or had gout or arthritus, doesn't benefit the living enough to disturb private graves...just because they died centuries ago.

You wouldn't want your mother dug up by scientists curious about her ailments and anatomy, would you? Why is it then OK for your great-great-.....grandmother?

34 posted on 07/11/2004 9:46:48 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Jack Black

What they accomplished while they lived is what is important; the history they wrote as a direct results of their actions is their legacy. To desecrate their final resting places to satisfy the morbid curiosity of scholars is blasphemous.

May God forgive them.

Beauseant!

35 posted on 07/11/2004 9:47:38 PM PDT by Lancelot Jones (Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.)
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To: Jack Black

Amen.


36 posted on 07/11/2004 9:48:59 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns; blam

It wouldn't bother me in the least to have any of my ancestors exhumed and examined, especially if the findings could help with filling in historical gaps.

I don't understand why people find this distasteful. After all, they are merely dead bodies. Their souls have gone on to their just rewards.


37 posted on 07/11/2004 10:47:04 PM PDT by JudyB1938 (I am not paranoid. I have "rational fear".)
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To: Lancelot Jones

When they are dead, what was great about them is gone. The rest is just dust.

Lancelot Smith (hey just trying to get into the spirit of this thing)


38 posted on 07/12/2004 8:34:13 PM PDT by Joe_October (Saddam supported Terrorists. Al Qaeda are Terrorists. I can't find the link.)
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To: Jack Black
The vaulted chamber was found under a stone floor behind the main altar of the Medici chapels in the church of San Lorenzo in Florence

This sounds like the desecration of a church. I have no idea how this could be permitted.

39 posted on 07/12/2004 8:38:20 PM PDT by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; livius; goldenstategirl; ...

More proof Europe is apostate. Graves desecration at it's morbid worst.


40 posted on 07/12/2004 8:40:51 PM PDT by narses (If you want ON or OFF my Catholic Ping List email me. +)
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To: blam
Exterior:

Interior, looking toward altar:


41 posted on 07/12/2004 9:04:19 PM PDT by Fifth Business
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
This sounds like the desecration of a church. I have no idea how this could be permitted.

Even St. Peter's in Rome has been excavated--right under the altar.

42 posted on 07/12/2004 9:05:38 PM PDT by Fifth Business
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To: blam
Finally, a useful article fron The Guardian...
43 posted on 07/12/2004 9:12:03 PM PDT by Morgan's Raider
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To: narses
St. Peter's was excavated in the 1940s. You can take tours under the altar: click here
44 posted on 07/12/2004 9:13:16 PM PDT by Fifth Business
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To: blam

bttfl


45 posted on 07/12/2004 10:47:31 PM PDT by Cacique
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To: Lancelot Jones
To desecrate their final resting places to satisfy the morbid curiosity of scholars is blasphemous.

Yes. It's evil.
46 posted on 07/13/2004 1:02:09 AM PDT by broadsword (Liberalism is the societal AIDS virus that thwarts national defense.)
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To: Jack Black

You apparently have been to Hattenheim, on the Mosell river.
The church ran out of space in the cemetary, so all the bones were dug up and moved to the church basement. Layered very neatly too, I might add. At the time I was there (45 years ago) it only cost 5 phennigs to go down and look.


47 posted on 07/13/2004 1:16:42 AM PDT by rock58seg (Communists and liberals read Marx and Lenin, Conservatives understand them. BUSH/CHENEY 04)
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To: rock58seg

Sorry! should have read: You apparently HAVEN'T been


48 posted on 07/13/2004 1:20:00 AM PDT by rock58seg (Communists and liberals read Marx and Lenin, Conservatives understand them. BUSH/CHENEY 04)
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To: Jack Black
Why is everyone on this conservative forum so enthusiastic about this desecration?

One scarecely knows where to begin.

49 posted on 07/13/2004 6:52:38 AM PDT by Romulus ("For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.")
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To: Fifth Business

What you've posted is the church of S. Lorenzo. It's in the same complex as the Medici chapel, but in a different area.


50 posted on 07/13/2004 6:54:17 AM PDT by Romulus ("For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.")
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