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Odd Bodies
Odd Bodies

In Paleolithic rock etchings, in the lines of millennia-old historical texts, and among intricate illustrations of medieval manuscripts, we find displays and descriptions of astonishing people, both real and unreal. The archaeological record also yields its fair share of ‘odd bodies’ – abnormally elongated skulls, gem-encrusted teeth, bizarre hybrid burials, and surprising artificial body parts. We take you on a journey through the weird and wonderful world of odd bodies, odd burials, and odd people.

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The Medical Alchemist by Franz Christoph Janneck, 18th century (Public Domain)
Artifacts & Tech

What Could Your Urine Tell a Medieval Doctor?

In modern medicine, urine samples are routinely examined in laboratories to obtain clinical information about a patient. This procedure, known as urinalysis, developed from an ancient medical process called uroscopy. Urology was greatly aided during this period by the development of the urine wheel. 
Detail from the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary. (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Medieval Monsters Taught Morals in a Book of Beasts

During the Middle Ages the phoenix rose from its ashes to be reborn, dangerous dragons battled elephants to the death, and the pelican tore out its own breast to feed its young with its life’s blood – in bestiaries, that is.

Venus and Mars, c. 1485 (Public Domain)
Culture & Tradition

Stiff Penalties in Historic Impotence Trials

The impotence trials of pre-revolutionary France sound a bit like a political joke. France had mostly squelched the ability for couples to divorce, and it was in this wake that the impotence trials arose.

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