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Summary justice or the King's will? The first case of formal facial mutilation from Anglo-Saxon England

Cole, G; Ditchfield, PW; Dulias, K; Edwards, CJ; Reynolds, A; Waldron, T; (2020) Summary justice or the King's will? The first case of formal facial mutilation from Anglo-Saxon England. Antiquity , 94 (377) pp. 1263-1277. 10.15184/aqy.2020.176. Green open access

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Abstract

Intentional facial disfigurement is documented in archaeological contexts around the world. Here, the authors present the first archaeological evidence for intentional facial mutilation from Anglo-Saxon England—comprising the removal of the nose, upper lip and possible scalping—inflicted upon a young adult female. The injuries are consistent with documented punishments for female offenders. Although such mutilations do not appear in the written record until the tenth century AD, the instance reported here suggests that the practice may have emerged a century earlier. This case is examined in the context of a wider consideration of the motivations and significance of facial disfigurement in past societies.

Type: Article
Title: Summary justice or the King's will? The first case of formal facial mutilation from Anglo-Saxon England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2020.176
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2020.176
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Anthropology, Archaeology, Britain, Anglo-Saxon, palaeopathology, facial mutilation, law codes, AMPUTATION, RECONSTRUCTION, RHINOPLASTY, EMPHASIS, HISTORY, NOSE, CUT
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116180
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