If you get a kick out of medieval combat — and who doesn’t? — this is cool:
The battered remains of a medieval man uncovered at a famous cathedral hint that he may have been a Norman knight with a proclivity for jousting.
The man may have participated in a form of jousting called tourney, in which men rode atop their horses and attacked one another, in large groups, with blunted weapons.
Archaeologists uncovered the man’s skeleton, along with about 2,500 others — including a person who had leprosy and a woman with a severed hand — buried at Hereford Cathedral in the United Kingdom. The cathedral was built in the 12th century and served as a place of worship and a burial ground in the following centuries, said Andy Boucher, a regional manager at Headland Archaeology, a commercial archaeology company that works with construction companies in the United Kingdom.
Turns out the dude was about 45 when he died. Though it’s impossible to tell for sure, forensics suggest he was recuperating from fractured ribs he may have received in a tourney, which was pretty much the hockey of its age. One gang would go against another with blunt weapons rather than pointy ones. Just because there were no sharp objects doesn’t mean it was a harmless pastime. I can tell you that blunt force trauma really, really hurts.