A Byzantine warrior unearthed in Greece, dating nearly 650 years, who was decapitated following the Ottoman’s capture of his fort during the 14th century, had a jaw threaded with gold, a new study finds, reports Live Science magazine.
The study, led by Anagnostis Agelarakis, an anthropology professor in the Department of History at Adelphi University in New York said the warrior’s lower jaw revealed that it had been badly fractured in a previous incident, but that a talented physician had used a wire — likely gold crafted — to tie his jaw back together until it healed.
According to the report, the medical professional who operated on his jaw seems to have been following the advice of the fifth-century B.C. Greek physician Hippocrates, who wrote a treatise covering jaw injuries about 1,800 years before the warrior was wounded.
“The jaw was shattered into two pieces,” said Agelarakis.
Agelarakis and colleagues discovered the warrior’s skull and lower jaw at Polystylon fort, an archaeological site in Western Thrace, Greece, in 1991. When the warrior was alive in the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, was facing attacks from the Ottomans. Given that the warrior was beheaded, it’s likely that he fought until the Ottomans overcame Polystylon fort. In other words, it appears that “the fort did not surrender, but that it must have been taken by force,” Agelarakis wrote in the study.