Date:

Archaeologists find a medieval skeleton with a prosthetic hand

According to a press announcement by the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, a 15th century burial in Freising, Germany, has been unearthed containing a skeleton with a prosthetic hand.

The discovery was made during excavation works for a new pipeline near the Church of St George, revealing the remains of the hand in a sophisticated construction made of iron and non-ferrous metal: an iron hand prosthesis from the Middle Ages.

- Advertisement -

An anthropological study and radiocarbon dating indicates that the individual was 30 to 50 years old when they died, sometime between 1450 and 1620, a period when European doctors started to make great strides in the development of prosthetics for injured soldiers.

Many military conflicts in Central Europe occurred during the late Middle Ages and the early modern period. As a bishop’s see and later an imperial-free corporate state, Freising gained great influence in the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the city was the scene of military offensives on several occasions, including the Thirty Years’ War, one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history.

Image Credit : Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation

There are approximately 50 known prosthetic devices from the late Middle Ages and early modern period in Central Europe. These prosthetics vary, encompassing both basic, non-articulated models, and more complex ones with mechanical components.

Speaking on the discovery, Dr. Walter Irlinger, head of the conservation department at the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, said: “The hollow hand prosthesis on the left hand added four fingers. The index, middle, ring and little fingers are individually formed from sheet metal and are immovable. The finger replicas lie parallel to each other, slightly curved. The prosthesis was probably tied to the stump of the hand with straps.”

- Advertisement -

Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation

Header Image Credit : Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Pyramid of the Moon marked astronomical orientation axis of Teōtīhuacān

Teōtīhuacān, loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods," is an ancient Mesoamerican city situated in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Malmesbury

Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the grounds of the Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, England.

Musket balls from “Concord Fight” found in Massachusetts

Archaeologists have unearthed five musket balls fired during the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, United States.

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in...

Archaeologists unearth 4,000-year-old temple complex

Archaeologists from the University of Siena have unearthed a 4,000-year-old temple complex on Cyprus.

Rare cherubs made by master mason discovered at Visegrád Castle

A pair of cherubs made by the Renaissance master, Benedetto da Maiano, have been discovered in the grounds of Visegrád Castle.

Archaeologists discover ornately decorated Tang Dynasty tomb

Archaeologists have discovered an ornately decorated tomb from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) during excavations in China’s Shanxi Province.

Archaeologists map the lost town of Rungholt

Rungholt was a medieval town in North Frisia, that according to local legend, was engulfed by the sea during the Saint Marcellus's flood in 1362.