The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Poor Jeanne

Half way through the Presidential campaigns, another French champion national is threatened by foreign powers. A study has found out that relics attributed to Jeanne d'Arc are actually bones of an Egyptian mummy.

The charred bones that were long believed to be remains of St. Joan of Arc don't belong to the French heroine but are instead the remains of an Egyptian mummy, a new study has shown.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at the Raymond Poincaré Hospital in Paris, France, obtained permission last year to study the relics from the church in Normandy where they are housed.

The relics were said to have been retrieved from the French site where Joan was burned at the stake in 1431. Charlier's team studied the relics—including a fragment of cloth and a human rib—under the microscope and subjected them to chemical tests. Close inspection of the human rib showed that it had not been burned but may have been heated to create a blackened crust on the surface, Charlier said.

Meanwhile the fragment of linen cloth had a coating characteristic of mummy wrappings and contained large amounts of pine pollen. "Pine resin was widely used in Egypt during embalming," Charlier explained, adding that pine trees did not grow in Normandy during Joan of Arc's time.

Zahi, could you please comment on smell artists from the French perfume industry also being used to find this out.

(Where do pine trees grow today in Egypt?)