Bones of Handless Man Found Near Mysterious Medieval Dolphin Burial

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Bones of Handless Man Found Near Mysterious Medieval Dolphin Burial:

Archaeologists in the Channel Islands (part of the United Kingdom) made a baffling discovery recently. They found the handless skeleton of a man on one of the rocky islets located in the English Channel.

This is the 2nd mysterious find in this location, raising all sorts of questions about early beliefs. Previously a porpoise was discovered buried very near to where the handless man has now been unearthed.

The curious finds have created an aura of puzzle around the significance of this place and just what might have been going on there in the past.

Monastic isle holds baffling secrets

A group of local government archaeologists was working on the tiny rocky outcrop known as Chapelle dom Hue, off the west coast of Guernsey, directly across from a site that is believed to have been a Stone Age burial site.

The Channel Islands have a very long Christian monastic tradition, amid the Middle Ages, that lasted until the Reformation.

There was a vast Benedictine monastery on Guernsey and many of the monks would retreat to Chapelle dom Hue for more solitude so that they could be nearer God.

Archaeologists led by Paul de Jersey were examining the islet for traces of these monks when they made the remarkable discovery.

The mysterious handless skeleton

As the team was working in one territory of the island,  bad climate exposed something interesting.

They inspected it and determined that it was a human toe bone. Intrigued, the experts began to dig, and they discovered an almost complete male skeleton, but which had no hands and whose skulls were damaged.

They discovered types of buttons that would strongly indicate that the man came from the 16 or 17th centuries. 

 The Guardian quotes the head of the team as stating, “the body was oriented roughly east to west, suggesting a Christian burial.”

The experts were surprised by what they had found because apart from the missing hands it was in a good condition.

One hypothesis according to Live Science was that the remains may “have been that of a monk who had suffered from leprosy, which might account for the missing wrists and hands.” 

individuals who suffered from leprosy often lost hands and feet as the disease progressed. But, by the time this man had died, leprosy had vanished from most of Europe and moreover, his feet were in perfect condition.

The current hypothesis proposed by the experts is that the handless man was a sailor who drowned at sea and who washed up on the island and was given a Christian burial by some locals.

The missing hands could be clarified by the fact that fish may have eaten the hands away, something which can happen to those who drown in the sea.

The man’s feet could be intact because they were hidden in shoes, that have long since decayed.

While the damage to the skull may have been caused by the drowned man hitting the stones on the shore of Chapelle dom Hue.

The enigmatic burial of a dolphin

However, the find is no more than 90 feet (28 meters) from the unexplained burial of a porpoise, that was Excavated on the rocky outcrop in 2017.

The sea-mammal was covered in a shallow grave and tests indicated that it ‘dated to between 1416 and 1490’ reports CNN, when priests still used the islet as a place of refuge.

The question arose as to why the porpoise was buried, despite the fact it would have been so easy to return it to the sea. 

It has been suggested that the mammal may have been protected in salt and buried so that it could be eaten later but was forgotten by some monks.  

LiveScience reports that it is possible that mammal ‘had some sort of religious essentialness to the people who used the island’.

The latest founds are adding to the archaeological significance of the islet in the English Channel.

The identity of the handless man and why he had not any hands may never be truly known.

At that point is there a link between the burial of the handless skeleton with the mysterious porpoise burial? What is clear is that a tiny islet is now a place of mystery and who knows what other remarkable discovery could be made, in the future on Chapelle dom Hue.

Porpoise was found on the same islet a year ago.

Porpoise was found on the same islet a year ago.

SOURCE: LiveScience

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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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