Five lead urns containing embalmed human hearts were discovered by archaeologists in the city of Rennes, France. With MRI scans and other techniques, scientists were able to study the condition of the hearts and detect for heart disease. The archaeologists who found the hearts are from National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research.
Will Dunham from Reuters reported the following:
“‘Every heart was different and revealed its share of surprises,’ anthropologist Rozenn Colleter of the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research said on Wednesday….
…One heart appeared healthy, with no evidence of disease. Three others showed indications of disease, atherosclerosis, with plaque in the coronary arteries. The fifth was poorly preserved.
‘Only one heart belonged to a women, and was totally degraded, permitting no study,’ said radiologist Dr. Fatima-Zohra Mokrane of Rangueil Hospital at the University Hospital of Toulouse.
One of hearts belonged to a nobleman identified by an inscription on the urn as Toussaint Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac, who died in 1649.”
Also according to Reuters, the scientists found that the heats had some of the same diseases common in h
“Mokrane said an important aspect of the study was the finding that people hundreds of years ago had atherosclerosis.
It is a disease in which plaque made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances builds up inside the arteries. Plaque hardens over time and narrows the arteries. Atherosclerosis can trigger heart attacks and strokes.”
When these hearts were embalmed 400+ years ago, I bet that few people imagined these hearts would become part of a scientific study in the future. Those who embalmed the hearts were probably only interested in preserving someone’s soul for eternity.
For further details on the discovery, follow the Reuters link or this one from Science daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151202084221.htm.