In a stunning discovery, archeologists in Germany have unearthed the remains of a Medieval man with a sophisticated iron prosthetic hand. The complete skeleton was found by pipeline workers near the St. George parish church in Freising, a Bavarian town 24 miles northeast of Munich.
The discovery of the skeleton was accidental, but what made it even more remarkable was the presence of the prosthetic hand. According to the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, the man was middle-aged at the time of his death and was missing all fingers except for his thumb, likely due to amputation.
The prosthetic hand is made of iron and non-ferrous metal and is incredibly intricate and well-preserved. It was most likely covered with leather, and a restorer found wrinkled tissue inside the fingers. Additionally, a gauze-like textile was used to cushion the stumps of the man’s hand as he wore the contraption.
Experts believe that the prosthetic hand was made with straps to secure it to the stump of the hand. This suggests that even in the Medieval ages, doctors and inventors were trying to improve the lives of amputees.
Radiocarbon dating of the skeleton shows that the man died between 1450 and 1620. Dr. Walter Irlinger, head of the Bavarian Archaeological Monument Conservation Department, stated that this discovery sheds light on the advanced thinking and technology of the time period. He also mentioned that there are only about 50 known prosthetics from Central Europe during the late Middle Ages and early modern times, making this find incredibly rare and significant.
Archaeologists Unearth a Medieval Skeleton with a Prosthetic Hand
In an extraordinary archaeological discovery in Freising, Germany, experts have unearthed a medieval skeleton equipped with an iron prosthetic hand. https://t.co/cIFnp2zXl3
— Science Academy (@Academ18Academy) October 30, 2023
One of the most famous prosthetics from this era is the “Iron Hand” used by the German Imperial Knight Götz von Berlichingen after losing his hand in a war in 1504.