Archaeologists examined skeleton of man with stone in place of his tongue | Photo: Historic England
In 1991, scientists discovered an unusual skeleton from Roman Britain – in Northamptonshire, central England. The body was buried face down and, as it turns out, the man had his tongue amputated and a flat stone inserted in its place.
The reason for placing the body face down on the ground is not clear; archaeologists suggest that burying the body may have been afraid that the body will rise from the grave after death and scare the living. This proves that the deceased could be perceived as a weirdo or a threat to the community. The man died at the age of about 30.
The discovery took place in Stanwick, and the skeleton dates back to the 3rd or 4th century CE. Although the object was discovered more than 20 years ago, scientists have only now analyzed the body. This type of mutilation was extremely rare in Roman Britain, the researchers say. It is suspected that the stone was placed in the place of the tongue to replace it and make the body complete; there is also a version that the stone was supposed to make the body incomplete because the stone is a “dead” object.
The man was buried in the cemetery where 35 people were buried.