UPPSALA, Sweden — Researchers from Uppsala University on Wednesday opened a gilded box containing the skull and bones of Swedish King Erik IX, who became a national saint after he was murdered in 1160.
The researchers also removed the king’s burial crown, which is the oldest known royal crown in Sweden, to display it to the public for the first time.
Knowledge about King Erik IX is sparse and Uppsala University said it hopes DNA tests and X-ray scans of the bones can reveal more about his origins. Some sources suggest his father may have been English, and churches in the region did have contacts with England at that time.
Researchers also hope to learn more about the king’s diet and whether he had any diseases.
According to legends, the king was beheaded and miracles occurred after his death. Uppsala Cathedral was later built on the murder site to house his remains.
The box has been opened several times before, but this is the first time DNA tests will be done and the crown put on public display.
During the 14th century, some of Erik’s relics were removed from the box and handed out to individuals and other churches.