With the intense intrigue pertaining to the past, the public gobbles up any news regarding ancient civilizations, dinosaur tales, and anything that sheds light on some of the most infamous stories in history. This is the case when it comes to Joan of Arc. Recently a hoax has been exposed, which has some in the field of archeology a bit miffed. In this article, we will learn the details that a few have always pondered about.
Who is Joan of Arc?
Before we get to the nitty gritty, I thought it would be appropriate to say a few words about why Joan of Arc is considered a noted figure throughout history. Joan of Arc lived during the early 1400s and became a national French heroine when she acted upon visions she said she received from God. Her visions urged her to recapture her homeland from the English, who was participating in the Hundred Years’ War. During a relief mission, King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orleans, which became a settled issue within nine days. Over time, she would receive criticism and was later tried for heresy (or disobeying Biblical clothing law). Joan of Arc was burned at the stake after she was found guilty at a trial. She was 19 years old at the time. Today, she is also known as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.
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For some time, a rib bone that supposedly surfaced at the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake has been found to be a fake. Utilizing the wonders of high-tech scientific equipment, it is now known that the bone really hails from an Egyptian mummy. Situated in the town of Rouen, which is the location where Joan of Arc met her untimely death, the bone in question, a cat femur, and a piece of cloth was discovered. In 1909, scientists gathered at the finds and exclaimed that there was a high chance that the relics found were from her. Others were skeptical since as the story goes, the ashes of Joan of Arc were thrown into the Seine to prevent any relics from surfacing.
Last year, a group of researched hailing from Benin, Switzerland, and France congregated to reopen the claim and do a bit of investigating. To their surprise, the rib bone belonged to a mummy from Egypt. Experts believe that the supposed find was brought to light because it occurred during the same time Joan of Arc’s beatification was to take place. The hoax has thrived since the 19th century, but the truth is now out in the open. In 1920, Joan of Arc was given the honor of being canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
So, how did an Egyptian mummy get passed off as a relic from Joan of Arc’s time? Actually, during medieval times and a bit later on, the practice of taking the powdered remains of a mummy and turning it into medicine was quite popular. The powder was seen as an effective remedy for treating stomach problems, blood ailments, and painful menstruation. It was not hard to get a hold of a mummy body part at that time. Scientists believe that the hoax was not conjured up to make anyone rich, but probably served for the good of religious belief. The bone came at a time that it would enhance the significance of the beatification process that took place in 1909.
Final tests revealed that the rib bone came from between the 7th and 3rd centuries B.C., where the cat bone possessed the same date. The cat femur was also mummified. Additional clues include pine pollen, which may have come from the resin associated with the embalming practices of the Egyptians. DNA extraction was not possible from the bone, so they were unable to tell whether or not the mummy bone came from a woman or a man.