Mon. Feb 17th, 2020

The remains of 94 corpses found in Atocha

Los restos de 94 cadáveres hallados en Atocha, a exposición



The Regional Archaeological Museum of the Community of Madrid Since December, it has collected the remains of the 94 corpses dated between 1624 and 1808, which were found in November 2017 in a building belonging to the Cervantes Society, located in the Madrid street of Atocha.

The skeletal remains were found during the archaeological performance carried out in the works of rehabilitation and construction of a theater by the Cervantina Society, and, after the discovery, the Community of Madrid ordered its exhumation and analysis by the Physical Anthropology Unit of the Autonomous University of Madrid.


The cultural institution gathers the remains of bodies dated between 1624 and 1808






Among the 2,219 skeletal remains found, 94 individuals were identified: 18 minors, three unborn baby bodies and 73 adults, whose study has allowed interesting conclusions to be drawn about the causes of their death and their living conditions.

The remains could come from the Hospital de los Desamparados, founded in 1592 and that at the beginning of the 17th century acquired the adjacent floors, in which the church and the sacristy of the hospital were built. It is considered that the floor of the church was dedicated to the burial of people since 1624.

The analyzes have determined that the remains belonged to a secondary burial, from a 'monda' of the adjacent Church of the Desamparados – an exhumation of remains made after completing the space of a main burial and deposited in an ossuary.


The remains could come from the Hospital de los Desamparados, founded in 1592 and that at the beginning of the 17th century acquired the adjacent floors

Among them highlights "a dozen skulls with saber marks, made from top to bottom, which indicates violent deaths caused by loads on horse on individuals who protest", explained Juan José Cano, archaeologist in charge of the excavation.

Of them, "at least three skulls belong to women, which rules that the wounds were produced in a confrontation between armies and point to a civil confrontation, as a riot or riot," said the archaeologist.





The specialists believe that it could be the Mutiny of Esquilache – the revolt of March 1766 against the minister of Carlos III due to its reforms and tax increases – or the revolts in the capital that followed the Mutiny of Aranjuez.


Among them highlights "a dozen skulls with saber marks, made from top to bottom, indicating violent deaths

The cranial wounds of others of the individuals could have been made by blunt objects, such as canes or batons, and a person with a shrapnel wound has also been identified.

The remains of five other individuals present "very clear traces of syphilis", which leaves the disease in its last stage, so they could belong to "already evicted prostitutes, which the hospital welcomed," said Cano.

The study of the remains has allowed to verify the existence of infectious oral diseases and very important wear of pieces, which are explained by the poor oral hygiene of the time, as well as osteoarthritis in the joints that account not only for age, but also of the demanding physical work.

The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Community of Madrid, Jaime de los Santos, said that the investigation of the remains "brings us closer to the history of Madrid in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries" and speaks "of the way life of those people from Madrid. "







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