Researchers at Oxford find the legend of Father Christmas is true

08 Décembre, 2017, 00:59 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

The bone that was analysed is a fragment from the pelvis, and is owned by Father Dennis O'Neill from IL in the United States. A new radiocarbon dating study by Oxford University researchers on a bone attributed to St Nicholas has been dated to around the 4th century CE, bringing us closer to uncovering the authentic remains of the original Santa.

But there may never be any way of knowing whether the bones really were from the real St Nicholas.

"Many relics that we study turn out to date to a period somewhat later than the historic attestation would suggest", Tom Higham, co-director of the Oxford Relics Centre, said in a statement. In some countries, such as Germany, children receive candies and small gifts not on December 25, but on Saint Nicholas' day, the anniversary of the saint's death, believed to have happened December 6, 343 A.D.in the town of Myra in modern day Turkey. In October, archaeologists in Turkey uncovered a grave among the ruins of an ancient church they thought belonged to Saint Nicholas, claiming that the remains in Italy belong instead to an anonymous priest.

Further testing may not be enough to solve the mystery surrounding Saint Nicholas' remains.

The legend of St Nicholas tells of a man known for secret gift giving. Since Father O'Neill's relic is from the left, this suggests that both bone fragments could be from the same person.

Previously, the remains of St Nick were believed to have been smuggled to the Italian city of Bari by Italian merchants in the year 1087.

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A fragment of bone said to belong to the fourth-century saint who inspired the story of Father Christmas could indeed be from the legend himself, scientists have said.

Though most of the saint's bones remain inside the Bari crypt, the skeleton is not complete.

The collection in Bari has only the saint's left ilium and not the saint's full pelvis.

Using a micro-sample of bone fragment, Professor Tom Higham and Georges Kazan, from Oxford University in the United Kingdom, have for the first time tested one of these bones. "It is exciting to think that these relics, which date from such an ancient time, could in fact be genuine", Kazan said. As Radio carbon-dating technology has become more sophisticated in recent years, ancient relics have become more accessible in ways that previously would have been considered too invasive to study. But technology has made for less invasive procedures, allowing scientists to test only tiny fragments of the bones.

The head of the local Monument Authority says that they have come across an untouched shrine while digitally surveying under the church.

However, asked about the possible authenticity of the relic, Higham said, "Science is not able to definitely prove that it is, it can only prove that it is not".

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