The Danish King Canute the Saint was killed in St Alban church in Odense July 1086. According to a legend the king was kneeling in prayers when a lance thrust to his side killed him. Our re-examination of the skeleton presumed to belong to Canute showed a slimly build man with an approximate stature of 165-170 cm and an age of 27-38 years. There was a peri-mortem lesion on the sacral bone. It was a so-called hinge-fracture that consisted of a horizontal fracture on the ventral surface of the 3th sacral vertebra, and with a corresponding crack on the dorsal surface of the sacral bone. Computed tomography shoed these two fractures to be connected. We suggest that the fracture was caused by a thrust of a sharp instrument through the abdomen with direction posterior and to the right.
Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science, 2010, Vol 16, p. 24-27