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Sanisera Field School, session 10, 2010: Bone Trauma from Roman Weaponry in Menorca, by Courtney Miller

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  • 1. This trauma tells the history of the individual's life by the fractures which have healed to help identify the individual. Antemortem Trauma which occurred BEFORE death This is the trauma helps clarify the manner of Death/ Cause of death by the fractures which have not healed. Perimortem Trauma which occurred AT or around the time of death This trauma may helps clarify information unrelated to the individual's death, but vital to the treatment of the remains. Postmortem Trauma which occurred after death Fracured bone Antemortem? Perimortem? Postmortem?
  • 2. Roman Sharp Trauma Weaponry Swords ~Iberian falcata, 4th/3rd century BC. This weapon, a scythe- shaped sword, was unique to Iberia. By its inherent weight distribution, it could deliver blows as powerful as an axe. The Iberians made some of the best weapons of the ancient world: they invented the gladius, the standard sword used by Roman infantry. ~Gladius, a short stabbing sword, was used in the 1st to late 2nd century in the cavalry. ~Spatha, a Roman cavalry sword. Those were longer than the gladius type and used to fight from horseback. In the later Empire, the spatha began to replace the gladius even for the infantry.
  • 3. Roman sharp force trauma Weaponry continued  Lances ~Approximately 1.8m (6ft) long ~It could be used when charging or could be hurled at the target ~These were the most feared weapon of the rivals of the Romans.  Contus ~Approximately 3.5m(12ft) long ~These were carried in two hands without a shield
  • 4. Sharp force trauma This injury occurs by a force with a narrow area of impact on bone, which can cause a compression or shearing force The trauma is differentiated from postmortem breaks. Although there was a move to longer swords in the 2nd century there is no evidence of a change to the technical use of the weapon. The slashing technique was not utilized until the late 4th or 5th century.
  • 5. Blunt force trauma  This injury occurs by a force with a wide area of impact on the bone, which can compress or bend the bone causing stress and resulting in a fracture or impression.  The Roman weapons were not designed for blunt force trauma however with the use of horses in war as well as the simple use of fists the aspects of blunt force trauma could be found in Roman remains
  • 6. Balearic Slinger Weaponry  Slings ~The slingers are theorized to use a simple leather strap and a stone to hit a target at a greater reach than an archer.  The Glandes used by the slingers gained enough force to cause projectile force.
  • 7. Projectile trauma  This trauma occurs with an intense force with a narrow focus that widens as it passes through the bone.  This allows the direction of fire to be determined by the direction of the beveling

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