Evidence of Pin Implantation as a Means of Verifying Death During the Great Plague of Marseilles (1722)

    Volume 42, Issue 4 (July 1997)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Page Count: 5


    Laure Pelissier, A
    Service de Médecine Légale, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    Brunet, C
    Professor, Laboratoire d'Anatomie, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    Leonetti, G
    Service de Médecine Légale, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    Hershkovitz, I
    Professor, Faculty of Medecine, Tel Aviv University Israel & Department of Physical Anthropology, CMNH, Cleveland, OH

    Signoli, M
    Professor, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie biologique, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    Dutour, O
    Professor, Laboratoire d'Anthropologie biologique, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    Champsaur, P
    Professor, Laboratoire d'Anatomie, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille Cedex 5,

    (Received 12 August 1996; accepted 4 November 1996)

    Abstract

    The evidence obtained for the methods used in verification of death during the Great Plague of Marseilles in 1722 is presented here. This evidence was gathered during the excavation of a mass grave dating from this epidemic, and is based on two adjacent interments. The technique used at that time was the implantation of bronze pins into the toes. This method is precisely described in the medical treatises dating from this period, which list different death verification methods. The fear of “false death” and the burial of still living people characterized the end of the 17th and the 18th centuries. It should be noted that the main cause of apparent death is presented in the same medical treatises as the plague. This observation is the first anthropological evidence of the use of this forensic method to verify the fact of death.


    Paper ID: JFS14197J

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS14197J

    ASTM International
    is a member of CrossRef.

    Author
    Title Evidence of Pin Implantation as a Means of Verifying Death During the Great Plague of Marseilles (1722)
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30