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Swiss mummy linked to UK's Boris Johnson

January 26, 2018

For over four decades, she was known as "the Lady from Barfüsser Church." A mummy found in Basel has just been identified — and researchers found a famous relative: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson
Image: Reuters/I. Kalnins

Basel's Natural History Museum has revealed the results of recent DNA tests conducted on Switzerland's most famous mystery mummy, known as "the Lady from Barfüsser Church."

The body has now been identified as Anna Catharina Bischoff, a member of a prominent Basel family who died in 1787 at the age of 68.

Bischoff's identity was established with 99.8 percent certainty. From Bischoff's seven children, only two daughters survived — and one of them did not have children of her own. According to historical records, the other daughter, Anna Katharina Gernler, turned out to be a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

On Thursday, the politician reacted to the news on Twitter, writing that he was "very excited to hear about my late great grand 'mummy'."

'So much luck'

An international team of over 40 people had been working to identify the mysterious body, including experts who had worked on the famous Ötzi mummy, Europe's oldest known natural human mummy, found in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps.

"It was a risky project," Gerhard Hotz, an anthropologist with the Natural History Museum said. "We didn't know where we were going and whether we would gain anything. We had so much luck. And then entered Boris Johnson — what more do you want?"

eg/cmk (AP, dpa)