Friday, November 04, 2005

Finding Copernicus

For I am not so enamored of my own opinions that I disregard what others may think of them. I am aware that a philosopher's ideas are not subject to the judgement of ordinary persons, because it is his endeavor to seek the truth in all things, to the extent permitted to human reason by God. Yet I hold that completely erroneous views should be shunned.
— Copernicus


It's known that Copernicus was buried in the cathedral at Frombork, Poland, but his remains were never located.

The gothic cathedral, completed in 1388, has survived, with some additions and reconstructions, the devastation of the Thirteen Years' War, the Swedish Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars, as well as that of World War II.

Copernicus himself organized defences in the war against the Teutonic Order (1519—1524).

This week:
Jerzy Gassowski, head of an archaeology and anthropology institute in Pultusk, central Poland, said his four-member team found what appears to be the skull of the Polish astronomer and clergyman in August, after a one-year search of tombs under the church floor.

"We can be almost 100 percent sure this is Copernicus," Gassowski told The Associated Press by phone after making the announcement during a meeting of scientists.

Gassowski said police forensic experts used the skull to reconstruct a face that closely resembled the features—including a broken nose and scar above the left eye—on a Copernicus self-portrait. The experts also determined the skull belonged to a man who died at about age 70.

The grave was in bad condition and not all remains were found, Gassowski said, adding that his team will try to find relatives of Copernicus to do more accurate DNA identification.


See the forensic facial recontruction.
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