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Forensic Sci Int. 2008 Apr 7;176(2-3):e11-6. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

A case of decapitation in Canosa, South Italy (5th-6th century A.D.).

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  • 1Dipartimento di Zoologia, Sezione di Antropologia, Universit√† degli Studi di Bari, via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.


The authors present the case of an adult male (20-25 years) with a stature of 175 cm and a body mass of 68 kg, showing many wounds caused by both stabbing and cutting weapons. The subject was found in a tomb in the archeological area on the hill of San Pietro (Canosa, Bari), where there is a Paleo-Christian site dating back to the 6th-7th century a.d. The skeleton shows clear signs of decapitation, due not to an execution but to a fight during a battle.

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