Binder and colleagues ruled out mutilation as punishment, which, until the beginning of the 7th century, was only applied to vassals and not free citizens.
The way the individual was buried - next to a church and with grave goods - indicates he had a high social status.
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"It appears highly unlikely that a convicted criminal, easily identifiable through his mutilation, would have been buried in such a prominent location," the researchers wrote.
The more likely scenario is that the injury was caused by accidental or violent trauma.
"The location of the cut on the lower leg may provide an indication towards a violent origin," Binder and colleagues wrote.
Since osteological analysis provided evidence suggesting the man was used to riding horseback, the researchers speculate he might have been a cavalryman who was injured by a soldier on foot.
"Several bioarchaeological studies of war-related trauma in Medieval cemeteries and mass graves have found the tibia [or shankbone] to be a common site of sharp force trauma and have been interpreted as being inflicted by men on foot to mounted men," the researchers wrote.