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Clarifying History Using Modern Science   

Fondation de Bourbon Press Room

Here you'll find the latest news about the Fondation de Bourbon, as well as our reactions to current events. Check back often for updates on our issues.

Wednesday October 27, 2004

Exhumation of Naundorff's Grave in Delft Secures DNA Samples

Two grave diggers started at 8 am. Charles de Bourbon was the only person who was there for the first exhumation (in the 1950s) that was also able to attend this second one. The grave diggers removed the surface gravel and then chipped the concrete border around the stone. And then with large pieces of wood they pried the lid and it finally came up and everyone cheered. They lifted the lid with a crane and underneath was a cave and the hole was the correct size for the casket to come out. The casket was resting off the ground on two rods set in the walls. The cave was quite wet and there was some water underneath. They put two straps around the wooden casket and lifted it out. This caused the wood around where the straps were to buckle. Once lifted up, they opened it up and inside there was a zinc box and inside was the skeleton.  The whole process was officially witnessed and video recorded.

The doctors arrived by 10 am, just at the right time. They noted that the upper arm bone was missing and the two tip digits from two fingers were also missing.  This material is presumed to have been removed during the previously exhumation. Dr. Maat then gave a little lecture and explained what he saw - he showed a shoulder blade with a scratch one it and a collar bone which was broken with a swelling on it - it was clearly repaired/healed. Apparently when you fall you put your arm out and it causes a whiplash on your collar bone which can break. They asked for permission to saw one of the bones to take samples which Charles gave - they put the samples aside. Also to determine the age of the bone they needed to cut it to see how thick it was to determine how much marrow is there. They divided that up into four parcels and sealed it and signed for it. This was officially witnessed by Dominique Rijnbout (a lawyer working for the Fondation de Bourbon), a bailiff and a policeman. They also kept two teeth in case there a problem extracting DNA from the other samples. A new casket was used with a new zinc insert and the remaining bones etc. were transferred to it. Then the original box pieces were put under the rods (to keep everything together) and the new casket was placed back on the rods and the grave re-covered. At 3 pm it was back in and by 4 pm it was over and everyone left.


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