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Stabbed to death: an osteobiography example of violence among Longobards (Povegliano Veronese, Italy, 6th-8th c CE)

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pHere we report the reconstruction of the osteobiography of an adult male buried in the Longobard cemetery of Povegliano Veronese (Northern Italy, late 6th – early 8th century CE), who shows signs of interpersonal violence. The palaeopathological investigation reveals sharp force traumas on the body of the fourth lumbar vertebra and on two right ribs. The absence of signs of healing or bone remodelling indicates that the defects were jats:italicperimortem</jats:italic>. The injuries probably affected vital organs, leading to death. Further macroscopic observations of the skeleton suggest horseback-riding activity. Strontium isotope data from tooth enamel indicate a non-local origin of the individual. X-ray and CT scan acquisition and Scanning Electron Microscopy analyses were performed to investigate the bone defects. His osteobiography was interpreted and contextualised in the complex socio-political scenario of post-classical Italy. The results document that he spent his childhood outside the Povegliano Veronese area, that during his life he was likely a horseback rider active in battle, but that his violent death did not happen during warfare/battle. This multi-layered approach, supported by archaeological information, osteological investigation, biomolecular analysis, and virtual imagery, allowed for the extensive reconstruction of an individual's life history.</jats:p>


Acknowledgements: Foremost, we deeply appreciate the permission to work on the Povegliano Veronese skeletal collection of Soprintendenza Archeologia belle arti e paesaggio per le province di Verona, Rovigo e Vicenza. We want to thank Dr.Rossella Bedini and Ing. Raffaella Pecci of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome (IT) for acquiring the Micro CT scans of the vertebra. We thank Dr. Tania Ruspandini of the Department of Scienze della Terra, Sapienza, University of Rome (IT) and Dr. Marco Albano at CNR in Rome (IT) for SEM investigation. We thank Ryan Mills at the University of North Carolina for help with the Sr ratio analysis. Ultimately, we would like to thank Dr. Matteo Mussoni of the Centro Veterinaio Valmarecchia, Rimini, for the X-ray acquisition. This work is part of the doctoral thesis in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology that the first author is carrying out at the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy).


4301 Archaeology, 4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Horizon Europe UKRI Underwrite MSCA (EP/X024512/1)