SKELETONS AND MUMMIES Barfüsserkirche Basel

In 1975, Basel's Barfüsserkirche needed to undergo renovations. During the archaeological excavations, over 200 burials were uncovered and investigated. What is interesting about these skeletons is the unusually high number of healed bone fractures.

Of the skeletons analysed, over 12% exhibited healed bone fractures. Some of them had serious injuries that indicated high-speed trauma or a fall from a great height, such as falling from building scaffolding. Injuries that are attributable to fights were also evident. Men were more affected by these than women. The researchers have linked the increased occurrence of bone fractures to the increased amount of building work that was going on in mediaeval Basel. This was taking place not least due to the severe earthquake that struck the region in 1356. All of the fractures were healed, including the more severe cases. This indicates good medical care in Basel, which was clearly accessible to even less well-off people such as manual labourers.

The naturally mummified corpse of a woman directly in front of the church altar is a rare find. Here, natural conditions such as the internment in a crypt and a wooden coffin helped to mummify the body.