Construction on a pipeline in Germany led archaeologists to a rare find: a prosthetic hand from the Middle Ages.
Officials said a grave from sometime between 1450 and 1620 was discovered in Freising near a church, according to an Oct. 27 news release from the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation.
The grave held the remains of a 30- to 50-year-old man who was missing four fingers from his left hand, the release said. In place of his fingers, the man had a hollow iron prosthetic for his index, middle, ring and little fingers.
Archaeologists said the man’s remaining finger bones showed evidence of an amputation.
The prosthetic did not move, but the fingers were slightly bent, according to officials. The prosthetic had the remains of “gauze-like” tissue on the inside that likely served as a cushion when the metal hand was strapped to the wearer’s wrist and thumb.
Experts said the rare discovery highlights the medical advancements of the Middle Ages.
Although it is unknown how the man lost his hand, archaeologists said the Middle Ages was a violent time for Europe, filled with conflict and combat that could have been responsible for an injury.
Freising is about 25 miles northeast of Munich.
Google Translate was used to translate a news release from the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation.