Archaeologists In Germany Unearthed The Remains Of A Man With A Metal Prosthetic Hand Who Died Sometime Between 1450 And 1620, A Period When Major Medical Advancements Were Made

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In Freising, Germany, archaeologists unburied the remains of a man with a metal prosthetic hand. The discovery was made during ongoing construction works for a new pipeline to be installed near a church located about 25 miles north of Munich.

The Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation announced in a statement that archaeologists used radiocarbon dating to determine that the man was between thirty and fifty years old when he died, sometime between 1450 and 1620, a period when significant medical advancements were made. European doctors were able to develop prosthetics for injured soldiers.

Four of the fingers on the man’s left hand appeared to have been amputated. The hand’s remains were encased in a hollowed-out device made from iron and other metals.

“The hollow hand prosthesis on the left hand added four fingers,” said Walter Irlinger, head of the conservation department of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation.

“The index, middle, ring, and little fingers are individually formed from sheet metal and are immobile. The finger replicas lie parallel to each other, slightly curved,” he continued.

The prosthetic was likely attached to the stump of the hand by tying it on with straps. Additionally, a piece of fabric resembling a cloth bandage was found inside the prosthetic hand, which might have acted as a cushion to the stump. The prosthetic hand is estimated to be around 600 years old.

Several battles occurred at Freising during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The city was also the site of the Thirty Years’ War, which began in 1618 and ended in 1648. It is considered one of the longest and most catastrophic conflicts in the history of Europe.

The large number of military conflicts likely led to more amputations and, as a result, more prosthetics.

Currently, there are about fifty known prosthetic devices that have been discovered in Central Europe.

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