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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Mozart's relatives face DNA tests
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Vienna

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Experts have never known the exact location of Mozart's grave
Researchers in the Austrian city of Salzburg have dug up the bodies of relatives of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a search for DNA samples.

The scientists hope to find out if a skull currently held at Mozart's memorial foundation in the city is his.

The exhumed bodies had been buried in the St Sebastian cemetery in Salzburg.

They are thought to belong to Mozart's father Leopold, his maternal grandmother and Jeanette, the 16-year-old daughter of his sister Nannerl.

Christian Reiter, a professor of forensic medicine, told the BBC that the discovery of this last body is potentially the most significant for his research.

"We need DNA samples from one of Mozart's female relatives," he said, "in order to make a comparison with the skull at the Mozarteum."

He said he was also hoping to get permission to exhume bodies in a crypt where Nannerl is believed to be buried.

Mystery grave

The exact location of Mozart's own grave is unknown.

He was buried in Vienna but his grave was re-opened several years after his death so it could be re-used and his remains were dispersed.

Legend has it that a gravedigger remembered where Mozart was buried and rescued the skull.

The skull was presented to the International Mozarteum Foundation in 1902.


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