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27 Oct 2004

Looking for Wolfgang in All the Wrong Places

Scientists dig up family skeletons Luke Harding in Berlin Wednesday October 27, 2004 The Guardian It has been a mystery for more than a century - is a skull in an Austrian basement really that of arguably the greatest composer...

Scientists dig up family skeletons

Luke Harding in Berlin
Wednesday October 27, 2004

The Guardian

It has been a mystery for more than a century - is a skull in an Austrian basement really that of arguably the greatest composer of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Wolfgang Mozart

Over the weekend a group of archaeologists began to answer the question by digging up the remains of Mozart's close relatives.

In a controversial operation, the scientists exhumed several skeletons from Mozart's family vault in Salzburg, where the composer spent most of his life.

On Monday they appear to have discovered the remains of the composer's 16-year-old niece Jeanette, whose bones could unlock the mystery of whether the skull, currently kept by Salzburg's Mozarteum Foundation, really is Mozart's.

Mozart died at 35 and was buried in Vienna in 1791 in a plot that was subsequently re-used. It is not known what happened to his skeleton.

But it is said that a gravedigger who buried Mozart later recovered the skull - minus the lower jaw. It was eventually given to the foundation in 1901.

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