Paleopathology in the Piraino mummies as illustrated by X-rays
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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 transportation outside of the crypt was not feasible. Therefore assessment of the remains via paleoradiological methods appeared to be the most convenient approach to investigate this precious ethno-anthropological heritage. Radiological examination of 23 of these mummies yielded information relating to their funerary treatment and some of the pathological alterations associated with the remains. These included osteoarthritis, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, and neoplasms, as well as any trauma present. These analyses provided insights into mortuary behavior and the osteobiographies of these clerical figures.