London (CNN)Archaeologists analyzing the skull of an Anglo-Saxon girl made a gruesome discovery that shines a light on the brutal punishments meted out to criminals in early medieval England.
An Anglo-Saxon girl had her nose and lips cut off as punishment, an ancient skull shows
Analysis of the skull showed that the girl, thought to have been between 15 and 18 at the time of her death, had had her nose and lips cut off, and she may have also been scalped as part of her punishment.
The team of researchers from University College London (UCL) believe she died shortly after sustaining the injuries, as the remains showed no evidence of healing.
Using radiocarbon dating, the researchers were able to estimate that the remains date back to between 776 and 899 AD.
"This case appears to be the first archaeological example of this particularly brutal form of facial disfigurement known from Anglo-Saxon England," the UCL team said in a press release for the findings, published in the journal Antiquity.
The case predates all previously known historical records of such punishments by almost a century, the study said, and it is the first physical evidence to support what written records had shown.