Fragment of human skull pierced by bronze arrowhead, China, Han Dynasty, 206 BCE-220 CE
Ancient evidence of violent death? A bronze arrowhead is embedded in this skull dating back 2000 years. It is unknown whether this was caused by accident or warfare, but the Han Dynasty in China, where this fragment originated, was a time of great political unrest. Professional opinion is divided as to whether death was instantaneous. The man may have lived for at least two weeks after the incident because there is evidence of new bone growth. This can only have occurred while he was alive. The green staining around the arrowhead is thought to be evidence of pus from infection. Infection rather than the arrowhead may have been the cause of this person’s death.
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Glossary: human remains
term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'
The skeleton of the head of a vertebrate animal, including the brain case, or cranium, and the bones and cartilages of the face and mouth. The skull can be subdivided into two parts: the cranium and the mandible. The human skull is made up from 22 bones.
A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.