The skull of a girl between the ages of 15 and 18 speaks of the brutal methods of punishment prevalent in medieval England. According to the analysis of the woman, she had her nose and lips cut off and even tried to make a scalp. The girl died soon after from these injuries as no traces of healing were seen on her skull.
“This is the first archaeological evidence to provide information on the methods of punishment prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England,” said researchers at the University of London.
The skull was first discovered near the English town of Basingstoke in the 1960s. Archaeologists from the Universities of London and Oxford have been studying it for decades.
Given the fact that such mutilations were a fairly common method of punishment in the Anglo-Saxons, researchers sought to find a link between injuries and laws. If we believe the legal documents of the time, such a severe punishment could lead to several types of crimes: a young woman either robbed her own master, or betrayed her husband, or – both committed crimes together.
It should be noted that the place where the skull was found was not a standard Anglo-Saxon cemetery, and it is possible that people who did not consider the local cemetery worthy of fasting were buried in this region. According to stable isotope analysis, the female was not local. Deportation may also have been part of the sentence.