Original paper

Perimortem weapon trauma in an adult male skeleton from the Italic necropolis of Opi Val Fondillo (VI-V century BC ; Central Italy)

D'Anastasio, Ruggero


The author describes weapon traumatic lesions in an adult male skeleton,that was excavated in the Italic necropolis of Opi Val Fondillo,Central Italy. The preservation of the skeleton is very good. The skull shows a linear lesion across the diploe of the right parietal and occipital bones;the edge of the traumatic lesion is smooth and perpendicular to the bone surface. The injury was probably inflicted with a sharp-edged weapon and the violence of the stroke caused the detachment of bone fragments and fractures that radiate from the point of impact. A sharp-edged linear traumatic lesion,probably inflicted with a blade,is visible on the ventral surface of the vertebral bodies of atlas and axis ; the blade detached the right transverse process of the atlas and penetrated in the vertebral body of the axis. Another sharp-edged linear traumatic injury is observed on the anterior surface of the body of thoracic vertebrae. There are no traumatic lesions of the ribs and the last injury was probably inflected down with a blade,while the body lying on the ground. The posterior surface of the diaphysis of the right femur shows an incomplete perimortem fracture,probably due to a compression down upon. Probably the adult male was killed during a fight and enemy had done with him,while he was lying on the ground holding fast his legs strongly. A comparison is made between the lesions and the modality of combat as well as the type of the weapons used by the Samnitic warriors


PaleopathologySamnitescombat's modality