The catacomb mummies of Sicily. A state-of-the-art report (2007-2011)

The large number of mummies stored in several churches and crypts on the island of Sicily represents a unique opportunity to investigate lives, lifestyles, nutrition, disease, and funeral customs of a large sample of individuals dating from the late 16th to the mid-20th century. Within the framework of the “Sicily Mummy Project” we performed scientific studies on four mummy collections, and gathered information on their historical and archaeological context. This paper will provide an overview of the technical and cultural aspects of mummification in Sicily and of the new relevant data obtained so far through the investigation of this precious bioanthropological re source.