Researchers rendered this drawing of what the ancient Greek warrior looked like based on his skull.
Researchers rendered this drawing of what the ancient Greek warrior looked like based on his skull.

It’s not everyday that an x-ray is done on the remains of a Greek warrior from 4th century BC, but Long Island doctors did just that in an attempt to learn more about how he survived a debilitating war wound.

Anagnostis Agelarakis, a professor and chair of Anthropology at Adelphi University, brought the remains, which are on loan from the Greek Archaeological Service, to North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park the week before Memorial Day.

“This is more rare than finding a diamond,” Agelarakis said of the discovery.  Experts estimate the warrior was wounded in the time of Philip the Second, father of Alexander the Great.

Greek field surgeons could not remove a bronze arrowhead from the warrior’s left ulna, a bone in the forearm, according Dr. Helise Coopersmith, a radiologist from Noth Shore- LIJ, because it would have caused more damage deep to the surface of the wound.

“The X-ray proved the barbed component of the arrowhead that could not have been seen with the naked eye,” Coopersmith noted.

According to Agelarakis, the remains were discovered during an archaeological excavation.  He said that the grave was found in the mid 1980s and the remains will be returned to the Archaeology Museum of Kavala in Greece.

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He plans to later publish his findings.

The professor’s wife, Argie Agelarakis, who’s also an Adelphi faculty member, joined with second-year Adelphi student Kimberly Lombardi to create a facial reconstruction of the ancient warrior.

The warrior lived with the embedded arrowhead until the age of 58 to 62 years causing him pain similar to severe carpal tunnel.  Argie Agelarakis said that he survived the injury with the care he was given and by keeping the wound clean.

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