Researchers Use Cangrande Mummy To Solve 700-Year-Old Murder Mystery

A 700-year-old murder mystery may have finally been solved — and scientists got the scoop from a mummy’s poop.

In 1329, Cangrande della Scala suddenly became sick and died at the age 38. The Italian nobleman was ruler of Verona, and had won control over the city of Treviso just days before his death.

“The sudden death was preceded by vomit and diarrhea with fever that, according to written documents, he had contracted a few days before by ‘drinking from a polluted spring,'” researchers wrote in the February edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

But there had long been whispers that the ruler was poisoned. And in 2004 — nearly 700 years after his death — scientists exhumed Cangrande’s body from its stone sarcophagus and found a remarkably well-preserved natural mummy.

The mummy of Italian warlord Cangrande della Scala, who died in 1329, shows he was poisoned.

— [ Archaeology News ] (@goinarchaeology) January 6, 2015

The researchers gave the medieval leader a modern autopsy and found the remains of fecal matter inside Cangrande’s rectal ampulla.

In 2007, the research team explained their findings to the World Congress on Mummy Studies.

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