1st Edition

Prostheses in Antiquity

ISBN 9781472488091
Published September 6, 2018 by Routledge
214 Pages 80 B/W Illustrations

USD $155.00

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Book Description

Today, a prosthesis is an artificial device that replaces a missing body part, generally designed and assembled according to the individual’s appearance and functional needs with a view to being both as unobtrusive and as useful as possible. In classical antiquity, however, this was not necessarily the case. The ancient literary and documentary evidence for prostheses and prosthesis use is contradictory, and the bioarchaeological and archaeological evidence is enigmatic, but discretion and utility were not necessarily priorities. So, when, howand why did individuals utilise them? This volume, the first to explore prostheses and prosthesis use in classical antiquity, seeks to answer these questions, and will be of interest to academics and students with specialistinterests in classical archaeology, ancient history and history, especially those engaged in studies of healing, medical and surgical practices, or impairment and disability in past societies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

List of Contributors


Jane Draycott

Chapter 1: The Complex Aspects of Experimental Archaeology: The Design of Working Models of Two Ancient Egyptian Great Toe Prostheses

Jacky Finch

Chapter 2: A Very Distinctive Smile: Etruscan Dental Appliances

Jean Mackintosh Turfa and Marshall Becker

Chapter 3: Prosthetic Hair in Ancient Rome

Jane Draycott

Chapter 4: ‘An Amputee May Go Out with his Wooden Aid on Shabbat’: Dynamics of Prosthetic Discourse in Talmudic Traditions

Lennart Lehmhaus

Chapter 5: Evidence of a Late Antique Amputation in a Skeleton from Hemmaberg

Josef Eitler and Michaela Binder

Chapter 6: Living Prostheses

Katherine van Schaik

Chapter 7: ‘Prosthetic Imagination’ in Greek Literature

Anne-Sophie Noel

Chapter 8: The Psychology of Prostheses: Substitution Strategies and Notions of Normality

Ellen Adams


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Jane Draycott is Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow in Ancient Science and Technology at the University of Glasgow, UK. Previously she was Lecturer in Classics at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Associate Teacher in Roman Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, all in the UK, and 2011–12 Rome Fellow at the British School at Rome, Italy.


"This book, with its diachronic examples, will undoubtedly serve as a useful resource for scholars with a special interest in the social role(s) of ancient prostheses, as well as those who study broader issues concerning disability studies, bioarchaeology, fragmentation, personhood and identity. Furthermore, the case studies presented here will contribute substantially to our understanding of prostheses and their usage in the ancient Mediterranean." - The Classical Journal

"Prostheses in Antiquity is an exciting collection that will appeal to a wide range of experts interested in the subject." - Jaipreet Virdi, University of Delaware