The Mummies in the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Calascio: A New Site in the Inner Abruzzo Region, Central Italy

Luca Ventura, Ilaria Vaccarelli, Mattia Iannella, Luca Castellani, Gianni D'Altri, Mirko Traversari


The inner Abruzzo region, corresponding to the province of L’Aquila, is a land of mountains and highlands in central Italy. Its environmental conditions greatly foster spontaneous mummification, and the area is well known for the human mummies found in the last decades. We present a newly discovered collection of mummified remains in the village of Calascio, located 1,210 meters above sea level, near Gran Sasso Mountain. Here, the Franciscan convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in 1594. The preliminary survey of a crypt in the conventual church allowed us to observe wooden coffins with at least seven mummified bodies still in their clothes, and several bony remains. Most likely, the mummies date back to the second half of the 19th century, and belonged to laypersons. Preservation was certainly due to the cold dry environment of the crypt. The recovery of the entire series will take place through speleological techniques according to stratigraphic relationships, in order to trace a bioanthropological profile of this small community members.



mummies, bioanthropology, paleopathology, Calascio, Abruzzo region, central Italy

Full Text:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.