During the Middle Ages in Europe, a different post-mortem funerary custom came to be used in order to transport and solemnly dispose of the bodies of high-status individuals. Because of their high degree of mobility, most medieval kings and queens rarely died where they had planned to be buried; thus, they had to be moved to the place of burial. Ancient writings describe some post-mortem funerary practices carried out to facilitate transport, such as boiling or burning of bodies after death. The remains of Henry VII of Luxembourg were analysed in order to determine which post-mortem practices were utilized. A detailed chemical-physical analysis was conducted to highlight the changes in the bone matrix due to post-mortem alteration. Boiling and burning leave different marks in the bone that could be differentiated through the analysis of the inorganic and organic components of the bone. Accordingly, anthropological, X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), collagen ratio, and scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM/EDAX) analysis were performed on two different bone fragments: cranial and tibial shaft. This multidisciplinary approach has enriched scientific understanding of the post-mortem practices to which the skull and tibial shaft of Henry VII were subjected. The results highlight that the tibial shaft was treated under higher temperature respect to the skull. Furthermore, this analysis also shed light on the state of preservation of the bone fragments analysed and has allowed us to initiate more complex molecular analysis, as well as ancient DNA analysis.
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