Archaeologists Discover Skeleton in Italy With Knife As a Prosthetic Arm

A sixth-century Lombard warrior buried in northern Italy appears to have worn a prosthetic weapon. Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Veneto, Verona

Archeologists have discovered a makeshift prosthetic device on a warrior buried nearly a millennium and a half ago.

Remains were unearthed in the Longobard cemetery, near Verona, north-eastern Italy, of a Lombard warrior who had improvised with a knife and buckle to make the device to compensate for his amputated right arm.

Archeology Magazine reported that experts came to that conclusion after examining the wear on his teeth which would have happened when he adjusted the prosthetics straps. They also found callus and bone spurs on his stump which indicated how he used a sword to replace his arm.

The warrior was discovered in a necropolis in the north of Italy where several other hundred skeletons, a headless horse and several greyhounds were also found.

The warrior was believed to be aged between 40 and 50 and his right arm had been amputated around the mid-forearm, a process likely to have taken place through blunt force trauma.

"One possibility is that the limb was amputated for medical reasons; perhaps the forelimb was broken due to an accidental fall or some other means, resulting in an unhealable fracture," the paper stated.

"Still, given the warrior-specific culture of the Longobard people, a loss due to fighting is also possible."

The Lombards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.

Ileana Micarelli from Sapienza University of Rome, said that the man might have been involved in the Lombard invasion of Italy in AD 568.

A 6th-century Lombard warrior buried in northern Italy appears to have worn a knife as a prosthetic weapon in place of his forearm, which had been amputated

— Archaeology Magazine (@archaeologymag) August 5, 2018

Micarelli said: "The strength of his relationship with the community is at the heart of the surgical intervention's success and in my opinion, social relations are as important as the level of medical technology."

The response on Twitter to the discovery was predictably light-hearted. One wrote: "Knife too meet you!" Another wrote: "Cutting edge technology." The comments also included: "He was widely known as 'Don't Pet The Cat Luigi," as well as "Historical precedent for Terminator 2."