The grave discovered by archaeologists, dating back to the early medieval Italy, is a sad testament to the horrors of medicine in the “Dark Ages”. The work was carried out by scientists from the University of Ferrara and the University of Bologna.
The skeletal remains of the young woman were found with the skeleton of the fetus between her hips, and the hole in her skull was probably the result of medical treatment of the past. Found in 2010 in Imola, Bologna, the well-preserved remains were in a stone coffin.
The initial analysis led him to the Lombard period, in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. But the fetus and head injury guaranteed further investigation. Scientists identified a woman between the ages of 25 to 35 years, and the age of the fetus was about 38 weeks. A full-fledged pregnancy lasted 40 weeks, so the mother was very close to childbirth when she died. In addition, the position of the fetus hinted at the phenomenon of “birth in the grave.”
The research team believes that the hole drilled in the center of the woman’s skull was caused by trepanation – an old medical practice for treating various diseases. Bones even showed signs of healing, indicating that the woman lived for at least a week after the procedure.
“Since trepanation was once often used in the treatment of hypertension to reduce arterial pressure in the skull, we hypothesized that this lesion may be associated with the treatment of hypertension, such as preeclampsia,” the scientists write.