National Geographic : 2009 Feb
• an octogenarian American from Minnesota who started as a pathologist and moved on to become one of the world s top mummy experts; Albert Zink, a big German who is the director of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in northern Italy; and a young Sicilian, Dario Piombino-Mascali---excitable and nervous, constantly worried, enthused and driven and possibly brilliant---who has a bolt through his eyebrow and a jacket that has "Boxfresh" written on the back, apparently without irony. I nd him leaning over a very unfresh box and delicately lifting the surplice of a 19th- century priest. He is looking for an unobtru- sive piece of organic material for Professor Zink to do tests on. "Ooh, is this what I think it is?" We all poke our heads up the vicar s frock and concur that it probably is. A thin pouch wound place that corkscrews back on itself. This is where Francis Ford Coppola filmed e Godfather. e bar where Michael and his tragic wife had their wedding reception sits on the tiny square looking exactly as it did 37 years ago on-screen. ere s no obvious sign mentioning the movie. ey don t like the as- sociation; most Sicilians I ask profess never to have seen it. At the top of the hill is a convent, a place that looks more like a youth hostel than a Gothic medieval institution. ere are only two nuns here, both Indians from Jharkhand. ey wear woollies and jackets over their saris. In a side room, laid out in temporary plywood packing cases, are a couple of dozen cadavers that are being studied by a trio of scientists. ey re an unlikely team: Arthur Aufderheide, Bathed in a halo of light, a mummi ed clergyman presides over a niche in Piraino. People visited the crypts to pray for the souls of dead relatives and ask their intercession with God.