Noble's Embalming Jar Reveals Traces of 17th-Century Medicine
The color and texture of thin jerky, the dried intestines of a Medici Grand Duchess are offering some surprising clues to her final moments.
What is your deathbed drink of choice? For the the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, it was all about the spices. Analysis of dried bits of her intestine stored in a ceramic embalming jar shows that she consumed a striking amount of cloves in the days before her death.
The Medici noble probably wasn't savoring spiced wine just for the joy of it. The clove-infused liquid was likely an attempt to treat her failing health, according to a new study in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. This analysis gives researchers an unexpected peek into the moments before Vittoria's death—and her attempts to treat the many ills that eventually took her life in 1694.
“Examination of viscera stored apart in jars