While doing research in Italy, these archaeologists did not expect what they were going to discover. After having did a lot of research, they discovered a grave. However, what surprised them the most was a woman’s body who was inside.
A dead man with a fetus between his legs
The story took place in 2010. After digging in Italy, archaeologists made a great discovery in Imola, near Bologna. They found a grave medieval dating from 7th-8th century AD.
The most fascinating thing is that this tomb contained the body of a woman. She had a hole in the skull and the remains ofa fetus between her legs. A discovery that has raised many questions among researchers.
After carrying out a thorough investigation for several yearsthey found the answer to their questions. In 2018, researchers from the Universities of Ferrara and Bologna published the results of their investigation in the journal World Neurosurgery.
The woman who is in the grave had between 25 and 30 years old. She died when she was about eight months pregnant. It was by the fetus found in the grave between her legs that they were able to determine the number of months.
Otherwise, disposal of remains of the baby had shown that the woman was soon to give birth. The upper part of it was under the pelvic cavityand the lower part was still inside.
So the baby is out of his body while she was in the grave. A rare phenomenon called “birth coffin” or “post-mortem fetal expulsion”.
The cause of his death
This very rare case is caused by the gas produced during the normal decomposition of the corpse. Indeed, after death, the human body produces a gas causing swelling which compresses and pushes the uterus out of the body.
And when the uterus contains a fetus, it can be expelled outside the body, resembling childbirth. And even in the grave. Nowadays, we no longer encounter this type of case because of the practice of embalming.
A technique that preserves the body of the deceased from natural decomposition. It consists of injecting formulated biocidal solutions into the body. After discovering the answer on the fetus, the researchers looked at the hole that was in its skull.
It was a circular hole of about 5mm, which was caused by trephination. An operation to access the brain and remove a tumor. According to the researchers, she would have been trepanned, because she suffered from pre-eclampsia.
This disease is characterized by the appearance of seizures caused by high blood pressure in pregnant women. Archaeologists then thought that it was eclampsia that would have caused the death of the woman. Moreover, in the Middle Ages, it was the cause of several maternal deaths.
“Given the characteristics of the wound and the late pregnancy, our hypothesis is that the pregnant woman suffered eclampsia, and was then treated with frontal trephination to relieve intracranial pressure,” the researchers explained in review.
Unfortunately, the trepanation could not help the woman, and she died a week later have undergone the operation.
She carried a fossilized fetus for half her life
If the fetus of the deceased was expelled outside, that of this woman remained fossilized in her body for almost 40 years. This woman living in Bogota was 84 years old when she made an incredible discovery.
After several weeks of suffering from a headache and severe diarrhea, his relatives decided to take him to the hospital. Arrived there, the doctor asked the old lady to do an X-ray.
It was after this X-ray that they discovered that she was carrying a fetus “fossilized” 32 weeks gestation. It was actually a lithopedion. This is a type of ectopic pregnancy which is not detected by the woman, because there is no symptoms.
Because of this, the fetus begins to petrify, seeking to protect against bacteria under a layer calcium. This is what gives it a fossil effect.