Copernicus’s remains have been found

Woah.  I didn’t realize that Nicholas Copernicus, the astronomer best known for advancing the theory that the sun was at the center of the solar system and not the Earth, was buried in an unmarked grave and his final resting spot was unknown until now. 

Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski told a news conference that forensic facial reconstruction of the skull, missing the lower jaw, his team found in 2005 buried in a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Frombork, Poland, bears striking resemblance to existing portraits of Copernicus.

The reconstruction shows a broken nose and other features that resemble a self-portrait of Copernicus, and the skull bears a cut mark above the left eye that corresponds with a scar shown in the painting. […]

Copernicus was known to have been buried in the 14th-century Frombork Cathedral where he served as a canon, but his grave was not marked. The bones found by Gassowski were located under floor tiles near one of the side altars.

Gassowski’s team started his search in 2004, on request from regional Catholic bishop, Jacek Jezierski.

“In the two years of work, under extremely difficult conditions — amid thousands of visitors, with earth shifting under the heavy pounding of the organ music — we managed to locate the grave, which was badly damaged,” Gassowski said.

A Swedish genetics expert matched DNA from the remains to two hairs retrieved from a book that the 16th-century Polish astronomer owned, which is kept at a library of Sweden’s Uppsala University. 

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