New analysis of the oldest-known preserved human dissection in Europe has revealed that its preparation was surprisingly advanced.
Renowned French forensic scientist, Dr Philippe Charlier, who led the analysis of the mummified head, was surprised at the level of anatomical expertise with which it had been prepared. He said: “It’s state-of-the-art. I suppose that the preparator did not do this just one time, but several times, to be so good at this.”
Historians in the past generally viewed the 1,000 years between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance as a period of barbarianism and ignorance, particularly in the fields of science and medicine – but modern historians have revised this view.
Historian James Hannam said: “There was considerable scientific progress in the later Middle Ages, in particular from the 13th century onward.” He explained that these advancements were forgotten by academics in the 16th and 17th centuries when it became an “intellectual fad” to credit classical sources from ancient Greece and Rome rather than the scientists of the Middle Ages.