Hard Work Continues on the Tycho Brahe Project

By Marie Louise Gammelgaard, Aarhus University

Work on the Tycho Brahe project is currently underway at several locations in Prague in order to achieve as much as possible while the famous astronomer's grave is open, before he is reburied on Friday 19th November at a ceremony at Týn Church.

Having undergone a CT-scan at a hospital on the outskirts of Prague on Wednesday, Tycho Brahe's bones were returned to the laboratory at the Czech National Museum on Thursday, where they were photographed thoroughly. Furthermore, physical descriptions of the remains were made by medical anthropologists and smaller tests were conducted prior to investigations which are to be carried out at a later date.

In the Týn Church, archaeologists have spent the week examining the burial crypt where Tycho Brahe has lain since his death in 1601, interrupted only by exhumation in 1901 and now in 2010. The remains of several other individuals have been discovered in the crypt. The Czech archaeologists believe that a small number of Tycho Brahe's wife's bones lay in the correct place within the crypt, and tests have also been carried out on these.

Tycho Brahe's costume has, during the course of the week, been confirmed as being in better condition than expected.

"We are already able to state that the clothes were not his usual clothes but a costume made specially for the burial, as the seams consist of very large stitches" explains research team leader Jens Vellev of Aarhus University.

On Friday morning, Tycho Brahe's bones will be placed back inside the well-preserved tin coffin, which will be sealed at the laboratory before being transported to Týn Church.

"We look forward to the ceremony on Friday, where we are likely to see many guests from both the Czech Republic and Denmark", adds Jens Vellev.

At the ceremony, Danish minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Ms. Birthe Rønn Hornbech will give a short speech on Tycho Brahe. The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop of Prague, Mons. Dominik Duka.