The Merovingian Kingdoms
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The Merovingian Kingdoms
The history, archaeology and geography of Merovingian Gaul
Curated by Marc Widdowson
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Researchers Unlock the Mystery of the Mummified Lung of a Merovingian Queen - NewsBean

Researchers Unlock the Mystery of the Mummified Lung of a Merovingian Queen - NewsBean | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

20 April, 2016 - 14:52
Alicia McDermott
Researchers Unlock the Mystery of the Mummified Lung of a Merovingian Queen
(Read the article on one page)

In 1959, an inexplicably well-preserved lung was found in a stone sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Denis, Paris, France. Since then, researchers have often wondered just how the lung of the 6th century Merovingian Queen Arnegunde had withstood the passage of time so well. Now, an international team of researchers has found a somewhat surprising explanation.

The remains of Queen Arnegunde were found in 1959 by the archaeologist Michel Fleury. Along with the skeleton and preserved lung were a strand of hair, jewelry, and several fragments of textiles and leather. A gold signet ring, with the inscription "Arnegundis" showed that the remains belonged to the Merovingian Queen Arnegunde (c. 515/520-580) - one of the six wives of King Clotaire I (c. 497 – 29 November 561), and the mother of King Chilpéric I (c. 539 – September 584).

Sarcophagus of Queen Arnegunde, Basilica of St. Denis, Paris, France. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Although the jewelry and fine quality of the queen’s clothing have attracted the attention of some scholars, others were taken in by the strange state of the lung. According to Discovery News , questions soon arose if the lung had been naturally mummified or artificially preserved.

In search of the answer, Raffaella Bianucci of the University of Turin led an international team of researchers in the analysis of the lung. Bianucci said in a meeting at the International Conference of Comparative Mummy Studies that they scanned lung biopsies with an electron microscope. The surface of the lung tissue showed a massive concentration of copper ion. Furthermore, they found large quantities of a copper oxide throughout the lung biopsies. A biochemical analysis also showed low levels of benzoic acid and related compounds in the lung. Bianucci explained that: “These substances are widespread in the plant kingdom and similar profiles have been already reported in the balms of Egyptian mummified bodies.”

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The researchers say that their results support a theory that Arnegunde’s body might have received an oral injection of a fluid made of spices/aromatic plants, which had settled in her lung. Bianucci told Discovery News: “Since Arnegunde was wearing a copper alloy belt around her waist, we speculate the copper oxide in the lungs is from weathering of the belt. The preserving properties of copper, combined with the spice embalming treatment, might have allowed the preservation of the lungs.”

Belt plaques from the finery set of Queen Aregund (Arnegunde). ( Public Domain )

Apparently, the Merovingians had adopted their ideas on artificial mummification for their elites from the Romans, who had learned it from the Egyptians . Nonetheless, the practice they used was not as complex as the Egyptians was: “Clearly the Merovingian mummification was much less sophisticated. It was essentially based on the use of oil and resin-soaked linen strips used with spices and aromatic plants such as thyme, nettles, myrrh and aloe,” Bianucci said.

Queen Arnegunde was King Clotaire I’s third wife. Stories tell that she married the king after her sister, Ingund (another of the king’s wives), had asked him to find Arnegunde a husband. It is uncertain if the king had a romantic interest in Arnegunde, or had taken her as a wife to appease Ingund.

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Arnegunde died in her sixties. She was a slim woman who was 1.50 – 1.60 meters (4.92-5.25 ft.) tall and it is believed that she limped since childhood, perhaps from having contracted polio in her youth. She also suffered from other ailments: arthritis in her upper and lower spine, and Forestier’s disease (an abnormal thickening of bones, which is often linked to diabetes). When she died she was buried with fine jewelry and other grave goods.

Pair of fibulae from the finery set of Queen Aregund. ( Public Domain ) Ring inscribed with the name ARNEGUNDIS. ( musée d'Archéologie nationale )

As mentioned above, the queen’s burial clothing has also captured the attention of some scholars . Her clothes were made of precious Byzantine silks and had embroidery stitched with gold thread. In preparation for her final resting place, she was dressed in a reddish silk coat over a violet silk tunic, and red shoes and a red and yellow silk veil. She was then wrapped in a hemp shroud, or had been covered with a hemp cloth.

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Dark Age Necropolis Unearthed in France - Archaeology Magazine

Dark Age Necropolis Unearthed in France - Archaeology Magazine | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

Dating from the fifth to the seventh centuries A.D., the village cemetery held more than 300 burials and was not included in any surviving records from the time, an era when the Frankish Merovingian dynasty ruled the region. According to an INRAP press release, the team is particularly interested in how the site shows how ordinary people experienced the transition from the pagan beliefs of the Roman Empire to the rise of Christianity.

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Locks of Difference: The Integral Role of Hair as a Distinguishing Feature in Early Merovingian Gaul - Medievalists.net

Locks of Difference: The Integral Role of Hair as a Distinguishing Feature in Early Merovingian Gaul - Medievalists.net | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
The aim of this paper is to understand the meanings that the Franks ascribed to hair and, in this quest, it will survey the different interpretations of hair that existed in sixth century Gaul.
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The Cranky Professor | archaicwonder: Merovingian Gold, Glass and Garnet...

The Cranky Professor | archaicwonder: Merovingian Gold, Glass and Garnet... | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
archaicwonder:
“ Merovingian Gold, Glass and Garnet Ring, 5th-6th Century AD ”
Always reblog Merovingiana
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Merovingian illumination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Merovingian illumination - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Merovingian illumination is the term for the continental Frankish style of illumination in the late seventh and eight centuries, named for the Merovingian dynasty. Ornamental in form, the style consists of initials constructed from lines and circles based on Late Antique illumination, title pages with arcades and crucifixes.

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Roman, Merovingian, and Carolingian political organization: what was the relationship between them? • /r/AskHistorians

Roman, Merovingian, and Carolingian political organization: what was the relationship between them? • /r/AskHistorians | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
To be more precise, to what extent was the political organization of Merovingian Gaul (dukes, counts, senators, patricians, etc.) a continuation...
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Popular Videos - Clovis I & Merovingian dynasty - YouTube

Popular Videos - Clovis I & Merovingian dynasty - YouTube | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

A list of YouTube videos about the Merovingian dynasty

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The eastern orientation of Merovingian graves and the seasonal distribution of morbidity and mortality (using the Sasbach-Behans and Bischoffingen-Bigärten cemeteries as examples) on Kudos

The eastern orientation of Merovingian graves and the seasonal distribution of morbidity and mortality (using the Sasbach-Behans and Bischoffingen-Bigärten cemeteries as examples)
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Merovingian king Clovis as founder of St. Genevieve.

Merovingian king Clovis as founder of St. Genevieve. | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
Merovingian king Clovis as founder of St. Genevieve. The abbey extend to the 5th century. Dedicated to apostles Paul and Peter.
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Conference Report: East and West in the Early Middle Ages: The Merovingian Kingdoms in Mediterranean Perspective | Sternizki | Networks and Neighbours

Conference Report: East and West in the Early Middle Ages: The Merovingian Kingdoms in Mediterranean Perspective | Sternizki | Networks and Neighbours | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
Conference Report: East and West in the Early Middle Ages: The Merovingian Kingdoms in Mediterranean Perspective
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Three J2 found at Merovingian buriel site (Roman-Frankish transitional period) | J2-M172

Three J2 found at Merovingian buriel site (Roman-Frankish transitional period) | J2-M172 | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
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Merovingian | Turbulent Priests

KULTURKAMPF AND THE EDICT OF PARIS; OR FRANCIA’S CLAUSE 4 MOMENT
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Merovingian dynasty images

Merovingian dynasty images | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
The Merovingians were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region known as Francia in Latin for 300 years from the middle of the 5th century, their territory largely corresponding to ancient Gaul as well as the Roman provinces of Raetia, Germania Superior and the southern part...
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Historian on the Edge: Awkward Identities in Merovingian Trier

Historian on the Edge: Awkward Identities in Merovingian Trier | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

While I was at the Austrasia conference, a number of people mentioned the problem of knowing why Metz was chosen as the capital, or chief urban royal residence, of that realm.  As part of my on-going, irregular attempt to put all my unpublished 'back-catalogue' on-line I present this paper from 2001, in which I attempt to answer that question by looking at why Trier was not established as the capital, given its imperial past.  The argument is essentially that the very Romanness and imperial pretensions of Trier made it very difficult for the Merovingians to inscribe their political identity over that.  More to the point, the bishops of Trier had a tradition of standing up to secular power, most stridently visible, perhaps, in the career of the long-live St Nicetius.

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Study Suggests Children’s Medieval Burial Was Revered - Archaeology Magazine

Study Suggests Children’s Medieval Burial Was Revered - Archaeology Magazine | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

In 1992, archaeologists recovered the remains of two children in a single coffin under Frankfurt Cathedral. A new report on the discovery reveals that the children were approximately four years old at the time of death, which occurred between A.D. 700 and 730. One of the children had been dressed in a tunic and shawl in the style of Merovingian nobility, with gold, silver, bronze, and precious stone jewelry, while the other had been cremated in a bearskin, according to Scandinavian customs of the time.

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The eastern orientation of Merovingian graves and the seasonal distribution of morbidity and mortality (using the Sasbach-Behans and Bischoffingen-Bigärten cemeteries as examples)

One of the oldest archaeological questions is whether the eastern orientation of the graves of Merovingian cemeteries is based on the point at which the sun rises on the day of burial. A sampling of precisely measured graves was examined. The statistical calculations showed a maximum for men, women and children in the last phase of winter and in the portions of spring and autumn closest to winter if we assume that the eastern orientation of the individual graves is determined according to the point of sunrise of the burial day. The deviation from the hypothesis claiming “equal distribution” was highly significant. Not one grave was beyond the summer and winter solstice. Other explanations of the mean deviation from the exact easterly direction towards the south are to be considered. With a large degree of probability, the orientation provides a reconstruction of the seasonal mortality.

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Merovingian names - Brunissende's A&S notes

Merovingian names - Brunissende's A&S notes | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
These names were collected from: "Liste des noms d'hommes gravés sur les monnaies de l'époque mérovingienne, lettre à M. d'Arbois de Jubainville" by Anatole de Barthélémy
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Ancient Peoples - Coin pendant 7th Century AD Merovingian/Early...

Ancient Peoples - Coin pendant 7th Century AD Merovingian/Early... | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
Coin pendant
7th Century AD
Merovingian/Early Anglo Saxon
(Source: The British Museum)
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Ancient Jug From Merovingian Dynasty Discovered In Ribe, The Oldest Town Of Scandinavia - MessageToEagle.com

Ancient Jug From Merovingian Dynasty Discovered In Ribe, The Oldest Town Of Scandinavia - MessageToEagle.com | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
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ACCESSING THE SECRETS OF EARLY MEDIEVAL RELIC LABELS

ACCESSING THE SECRETS OF EARLY MEDIEVAL RELIC LABELS | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

Sometime in the eighth century, a nun sat at her writing desk in the scriptorium of the monastery at Chelles and cut a small strip of parchment measuring about 90 by 15/22 millimeters. In a script recognizable as a hallmark of her institution, she recorded, perhaps a little hastily, the words “rel sci gennouefe,” that is, “relics of Saint Genovefa” (Chartae Latinae Antiquiores, ed. Atsma et al., Vol. 18, No. 669: XL). She or one of her sisters took the piece of parchment and attached it to a small sack containing, presumably, a piece of the body of the saint, or perhaps some piece of matter associated with her or her miracles.

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Early Middle Ages | Merovingian Queens and Social Class • /r/AskHistorians

Early Middle Ages | Merovingian Queens and Social Class • /r/AskHistorians | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it

I have been reading Madigan's excellent new survey of medieval Christianity and one rather off-hand statement struck me as fascinating: ...Why would a Merovingian monarch choose a wife from among the 'lower social class' - especially of another gens? Was there a particular political aspect to this union?

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Reformed Anglicans: May 457-751 A.D. Merovingians: Kings & Queens of the Franks

Reformed Anglicans: May 457-751 A.D. Merovingians: Kings & Queens of the Franks | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
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Rural settlements in Early Medieval France - Medieval Histories

Rural settlements in Early Medieval France - Medieval Histories | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
The theme for the 36th International Conference on Merovingian Archaeology is dedicated to new research into the rural settlements of Early Medieval France
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J2 at Merovingian buriel site (Roman-Frankish transitional period)

J2 at Merovingian buriel site (Roman-Frankish transitional period) | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
This is a new thread based on the discussion that did begin in the "Genetic Genealogy and Ancient DNA in the News" thread with


Interesting information is collected in the j2-m172.info page:
Three J2 found at Merovingian buriel site (Roman-Frankish transitional period)
Latest discussion:
Why are the authors so certain that the buried men where descendants of the Roman era people? Could they not also be invaders that claimed the area as well as all the items and wealth of previous
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Frankish/Merovingian Artworks

Frankish/Merovingian Artworks | The Merovingian Kingdoms | Scoop.it
Find and study online flashcards from Art History 481. Visit StudyBlue today to learn more!
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