Ancient One-Handed Skeleton Found With Prosthetic Knife-Hand

Friday, 13 April 2018 - 11:43AM
Weird Science
Friday, 13 April 2018 - 11:43AM
Ancient One-Handed Skeleton Found With Prosthetic Knife-Hand
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Image credit: YouTube/Outer Places

Sure, pirates had peg legs and hooks, but a thousand years before they sailed the sea, there were the Longobardi, a culture of warriors that lived in Northern Italy around 568 AD that apparently produced the most badass person of the age: The unnamed, one-handed skeleton unearthed from the Povegliano Veronese that mounted a knife on his stump with a leather prosthesis.

 

Yes, he was basically Ash in Evil Dead II.



And it only gets cooler. Not only did this man literally have a knife for a hand; examinations of his bones suggest that his original hand was amputated by blunt force—either during a medical procedure, or an injury in battle.

 

Calluses on the bones near the stump suggest that he regularly wore his knife prosthesis, and strange wear-and-tear on his teeth and shoulder suggest that he had to twist his arm and use his teeth to tighten the leather band that secured it to his stump.

 

You might expect someone like this to die relatively young, either in a climactic knife fight on the field of battle or succumbing to inevitable infections caused by medieval surgery, but no—this man lived to be 40 to 50 years old.



According to the authors of the new study, published in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences: "This Longobard male shows a remarkable survival after a forelimb amputation during [the] pre-antibiotic era. Not only did he adjust very well to his condition, he did so with the use of a culturally-derived device, along with considerable community support. Most likely, he had a prosthesis that was used to protect the stump."



Fans of history may know the Longoboard people better under the name Lombards, for which the Italian region of Lombardy was named.

 

When they migrated from Germany, they managed to take over large parts of northern Italy almost unopposed, and if this knife-handed skeleton is any indication of what they were like, we can understand why no one put up much resistance.

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