By M.P. Pellicer (Stranger Than Fiction Stories)
Over 25 years ago near the village of Stanwick in England, an excavation unearthed burials dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain approximately 1500 years.
One of the most mysterious finds the archaeologists made was a man whose tongue was cut out and a flat rock was placed inside his mouth. The reason for the mutilation is open to interpretation.
He was found in 1991, near the village of Stanwick, and he lived about 1500 years ago. But it was not until recently that in depth study of the bones was made.
His age was between 25 and 35, and when alive he had an oral infection that had spread to other parts of his body. As a result new bone growth was created in his mouth and other parts of his skull. The cutting out of his tongue could have caused this infection.
Other burials dated between the 3rd and 7th centuries A.D. from other parts of Britain, found other unusual substitutions for missing body parts. Some skeletons missing a head, probably due to decapitation, had a rock or pot placed in its place. One missing a foot, had a pot placed as a substitute.
The researchers theorize that the flat rock in the skeleton's mouth may have been, "a symbolic replacement for [a] tongue that was amputated in this individual during the lifetime of this man".
Photographs taken in 1991 when it was unearthed show that skeleton was found face-down with hsi right arm sticking out at a strange angle, indicating he might have been tied up when he died.
As to the reason why his tongue would be cut out remains unknown. This was the time when the Romans controlled Britain, and no reference has been found in ancient texts where they used this method as a type of punishment.
The team looked at modern medical knowledge, and its found that people who experience epileptic fits, or Parkinson's disease or similar neurological disease often bit their own tongue or lips. But there is no case where someone has total bit off their tongue. Persons suffering a psychotic episode have bit off their tongue.
Could this have been the case of what happened to this man? Was he a victim of a severe mental illness and he was tied up because other people in the community thought he was a threat? No doubt the answers will never be known.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer