Two bodies up to 380 years old discovered on Swiss glacier

Two bodies up to 380 years old discovered on Swiss glacier

From plane crashes to long-lost German mountaineers, the melting of Swiss glaciers has revealed more than its fair share of morbid discoveries. Now, the mummified remains of a woman and a man who lived at some point between 1640 and 1800 have been discovered on the Saleina Glacier in the Swiss mountains.

A mystery on the Saleina glacier in Switzerland

Speaking to RTS, Romain Andenmatten, from the archaeological office in Canton Valais, announced that they had discovered a mummified couple who had lived at some point between 1640 and 1800. The “very interesting case” was found on the Saleina Glacier near Orsières, Canton Valais, and has now been largely recovered by the emergency services so that a more accurate date can be determined.

According to Blick, the clothing, bones and mummified remains of the two have been collected over the past 15 years from an 800-metre stretch of the glacier. Andenmatten confirmed that the two were a man and a woman, but weren’t “able to say whether they were travelling together at the time of their deaths or whether they were separate events."

Two bodies found on Swiss glacier to be analysed by archaeologists

The only thing that can be said for certain, apparently, is that both lived along the River Rhône between 1640 and 1800. Andenmatten noted that there would have to be far more analysis done to make the date range smaller.

Blick noted that the discovery is reminiscent of a similar find in 1984, when the body of a supposed 17th-century mercenary was found with clothing, shoehorn, shoes, razor, coins, dagger, sword and pistol near the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt. In the words of Blick, much like with that case - where further analysis revealed the man was most likely a trader, not a mercenary - more analysis will have to be done to uncover the story behind the two bodies. 

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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