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Crusader Knight's Stolen Head Has Been Found

Mummified head was found after Dublin police got a tip
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2019 1:09 PM CST
St. Michan's church.   (Wikimedia / Andreas F. Borchert)

(Newser) – An 800-year-old Crusader knight has been reunited with his head. The mummy was decapitated and the head stolen from the crypt of Dublin's St. Michan's church over the weekend of Feb. 23-24, but Dublin police, acting on a tip, have now recovered the head. The church's archdeacon says another skull was also recovered, but both were drenched with rainwater, which could be bad news. After centuries in the "unusually dry air" of the crypt, per the New York Times, they could end up disintegrating now that they've been soaked. The skulls were handed over to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation and possible restoration.

But, ultimately, the hope is to return the Crusader's head to his coffin, though it will be impossible to reattach it. The 6-foot, 6-inch man has traditionally been identified as someone who fought in the medieval-era Crusades, though his name is no longer recorded. His was the most famous of a number of bodies naturally mummified by the aforementioned dry air and methane-rich soil of the St. Michan's crypt. During the break-in, a 300-year-old mummified nun's head was also turned the wrong direction, another mummy was turned on its side, and a crypt was damaged, the Irish Times reports. The criminal probe into the break-in continues. (The earliest known Egyptian mummy was discovered last year.)

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