EAST LANSING — The hole in the cranium and the crack spreading from it are clear signs the person died from a violent act.
The skeleton is one of 409 medieval Nubians now residing in a small laboratory at Michigan State University. Researchers say that person likely was stabbed with a sword. But the rest of the skeletons don’t offer as many obvious clues.
Figuring out how those people died is the work of a group of MSU undergraduate students in the forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology program. Studying the bones — which date between the sixth and 15th centuries — will help students decode not only how the Nubians died, but also how they lived.
The collection and the research are trend-setting. The group is doing work normally reserved for graduate or doctoral students. The collection, on loan from the British Museum in London, offers a peek into a society that hasn’t been studied much. Read more.