1,500-Year-Old Artificial Limb Unearthed in Austria is Oldest in Europe (Video)

January 16, 2016 6:31 pm Last Updated: January 16, 2016 6:31 pm

In Early Medieval times, prosthetic appendages were rare, partially because surviving an amputation at all was largely against the odds.

Archaeologists say they have dug up the remains of a man who both made it through the risky surgery and was outfitted with a wooden foot. The discovery marks the oldest known artificial limb unearthed in Europe.

The roughly 1,500-year-old skeleton was discovered in southern Austria in 2013, but the prosthetic became known only recently. Comprised of wood leather straps and anchored to his left leg with an iron ring, what remained of it was badly damaged but researchers are quite confident in their identification.

As the individual was buried in a church grave and with a sword and brooch, experts believe he was a man of considerable importance in his community.