Late Antique TLC

Digs & Discoveries July/August 2018

(Courtesy Dr. Gianni De Zuccato and Dr. Brunella Bruno/ Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Veneto, Verona)

A sixth-century Lombard warrior buried in northern Italy appears to have worn a prosthetic weapon. A knife and buckle were discovered along with evidence that his forearm had been amputated. The stump was positioned across his chest and researchers identified a callus and bone spurs consistent with pressure from a prosthetic device. Significant wear on his teeth suggests he used them to tighten its straps. According to Ileana Micarelli of the Sapienza University of Rome, the man, possibly a combatant in the A.D. 568 Lombard invasion of Italy, was well cared for following the operation. “The strength of his relationship with the community is at the heart of the surgical intervention’s success,” she says. “And in my opinion, social relations are as important as the level of medical technology.”


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