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Beethoven's skull identified in US

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 17 (AFP) - Genetic testing has revealed that chunks of bone at a Ludwig van Beethoven center in California came from the skull of the revered composer, the center said Thursday.

"When I found out, I could barely contain myself," said William Meredith, director of the Ira Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University.

DNA from the bones was compared to that of strands of Beethoven's hair, according to the center.

The two bone fragments belong to Northern California descendants of Romeo Seligmann, who was a doctor in Vienna in the late 1800s, the center reported.

Seligmann got the bones in 1863 during an exhumation of Beethoven's body, according to the center. How Seligmann received "the gift" was unclear, but the bones were reportedly among pieces of skull broken during an autopsy.

The bones were passed from generation to generation, traveling from Vienna to France and then the United States, according to the center.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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