Giuseppe Garibaldi’s body to be exhumed

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The body of 19th-century military leader Giuseppe Garibaldi is to be exhumed in response to doubts about its true location. Garibaldi, who played a key role in the unification of Italy, was supposedly buried in a tomb on the island of Caprera, near Sardinia, but family members fear the site may have been tampered with. Garibaldi’s body was embalmed after his death, contrary to his requests for a simple burial and cremation. DNA testing will be used to establish whether he is indeed in the tomb.

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Incan mummy could offer new insight into disease

Analysis of an Incan mummy found buried on the slopes of the Llullaillaco volcano in Argentina has revealed that the mummy – that of a teenage girl – was suffering from a bacterial infection when she died, according to scientists.

Using a technique of swabbing the lips of the mummies and comparing the swabs with those of current patients, scientists were able to ascertain that the teenage girl was suffering from an illness similar to tuberculosis when she died. X-rays of her lungs also showed signs of infection. It is hoped that the discovery will offer new insights into diseases of the past.

The 500-year-old mummy, known as the ‘Maiden’, was discovered in 1999, together with the remains of two younger children. All three are believed to have been sacrificed and were found with a collection of precious objects.

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Roman ‘curse scroll’ found in Kent

The names of 14 people who may have lived in Kent, nearly 2,000 years ago, have been deciphered on a lead scroll found during an archaeological dig on the site of a Roman farmstead near East Farleigh.

Measuring 60mm wide by 100mm tall, and at only 1mm thick, experts believe the scroll may be a ‘curse scroll’. Used by the Romans to cast spells on people accused of theft and other misdeeds, such tablets were rolled up to conceal their inscriptions and then hidden in places considered to be close to the underworld, such as graves, springs or wells.

The document is not dated and the names are written in capital letters, meaning that it is not possible to date it by handwriting, but some experts believe it may have been created in the third century AD.

Conservation work begins on Pictish stone

A £180,000 restoration project has begun on the Nigg cross-slab – an eighth-century Pictish stone from Easter Ross in Scotland. Referred to by the trust as “one of Scotland’s greatest art treasures”, the slab features snakes and a depiction of monks receiving bread from a raven sent by God. It has been taken to a workshop in Edinburgh and will eventually be put back on display at 16th-century Nigg Old Church following the conservation work.

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Olympic medals from 1908 auctioned

Three Olympic medals awarded to British competitors in the 1908 London Games have sold for £17,000 at auction. The medals – gold for water polo, silver for a shooting event and bronze for boxing – formed part of a larger sale of Olympic memorabilia at Sotheby’s, London, earlier this week. The gold medal for water polo was awarded to British competitor Charles Smith. The silver was presented to the British team that took part in the now defunct Running Deer event, which saw competitors shooting at moving targets. British bantamweight boxer Wally Webb was awarded the bronze medal.