Wife Discovered With Husband’s Heart, Centuries After Death


The 17th-century burial of a French noblewoman that included the embalmed heart of her husband is not only a trés romantic gesture, but also a scientific phenomenon that has never been seen before in archaeology, according to a recent study on the emergence of modern burial practices in Europe.

The lead coffin of Louise de Quengo, Lady of Brefeillac, was excavated in 2013 at the former site of the Jacobin convent in Rennes, France by researchers with the country’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP).

Despite the fact that 65-year-old Louise de Quengo died in 1656, her sealed lead casket preserved her body unusually well, with even her simple religious cloaks and leather shoes still intact. Her identity was confirmed through a detailed listing in the convent’s burial register.

But the casket yielded an even bigger surprise: inside was a small lead container that contained the heart of her husband, Toussaint de Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac. Read more.


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