230-year-old mummy is relative of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Researchers say the discovery is thanks to a DNA comparison

230-year-old mummy is relative of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Image: srf.ch

The mystery surrounding a mummy discovered in Basel, Switzerland has had some questions answered.

For decades, the mummy has puzzled researchers, but now Basel Natural History Museum have found that she has ties to Britain.

Specifically, her great-great-great-great-grandson is the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson | File photo

Her body was riddled with mercury - a standard treatment for syphilis from the late 15th to the 19th century.

Mr Johnson tweeted to say he was "Very excited to hear about my late great grand 'mummy' - a pioneer in sexual health care":

Researchers say the discovery is thanks to a DNA comparison of tissue with her descendants.

One of them is 89-year-old Rosemary Probst-Ryhiner, who provided a saliva sample.

On being related a 230-year-old mummy, she said: "You have to get used to it first. It's a shock at the beginning."

She now affectionately calls her great-great-great-great-great-grand-aunt 'Aunt Annekäthi.'

The mummy comes from the Barfüsser Church, where it was discovered 43 years ago during excavations.

But since records of the tombs of the church were missing, nobody knew who was buried at the site.

After months of research, volunteers landed at grave number 105 and the name Bischoff.

It was then they started their search for a living descendant.

However it took two years before anthropologist Gerhard Hotz finally solved the mystery.

"It's great and it's also a scientific sensation," he says.