Police in Ireland have recovered the head of an 800-year-old mummy, known as The Crusader, that was stolen from the crypt of St Michan’s Church in Dublin late last month.
Vandals broke into the church late last month and desecrated several mummies, including the remains believed to be a soldier of the Crusades, the series of religious and political wars between the 11th and 13th centuries.
The 400-year-old remains of a nun were also desecrated in the incident, with her head turned 180 degrees, while a third mummy was turned on its side. Archdeacon of Dublin, David Pierpoint, described the vandalism as being “distressing and disturbing.”
“Parts of the contents of the coffin have been dragged out,” he described to Irish Times last week. “These are people who have been lying at rest for years and years and to have them desecrated in such a sacrilegious way is so distressing and disturbing.”
On Tuesday, the Gardaí announced officers had recovered the head of The Crusader and another skull was stolen from St Michan’s Church.
“The items were recovered as a result of information that came into the possession of the investigating Gardaí,” the police force said in a statement. “National Museum of Ireland are acting in an advisory capacity.”
The Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, thanked for the police department for its efforts to recover the stolen remains.
“The emphasis will now be able to turn to consideration of future security and display of the remains in the crypt of St Michan’s,” he said in a statement. “Renewed thanks go to all who have shown interest and concern for the mummies.
“They are a priceless part of the heritage of the city of Dublin and its citizens,” Jackson said.
The church was also vandalized in 1996, when a group of teenagers broke into the vaults and “played football” with heads from several bodies including the remains of a child, according to the Irish Post.