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Knife-For-A-Hand Prosthesis Found With 1,400-Year-Old Skeleton

In the horror-camp classic Evil Dead II, the main character cuts off his own hand and later attaches a chainsaw in its place before he is magically transported to Middle Age Europe.

A case report by Italian archaeologists now implies that around 1,400 years ago, a real man pulled a (tenuously) similar stunt.

As described in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences, a skeleton unearthed from the famous Veneto-region Longobard cemetery bears evidence that the individual not only survived for years after amputation of his right forearm, he also regularly used a strapped-on, knife-tipped prosthesis.

No, really.

“This Longobard male shows a remarkable survival after a forelimb amputation during [the] pre-antibiotic era,” the authors wrote. “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.”

First discovered in the 1970s, the Povegliano Veronese necropolis served as a burial ground for the Longobard culture that thrived in the region between the 6th and 8th centuries. A warrior-based society, the Longobards settled in northern Italy in approximately 568 AD, after migrating from modern-day Germany.

Though the one-handed man’s remains had been studied previously, the team led by antiquities researcher Ileana Micarelli conducted the most extensive analysis to date of both the bones and the goods found alongside them.

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