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CSI for a 'Cold Case.' Oldest preserved brain.

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posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 02:42 PM
A uniquely preserved brain and skull has been discovered during building work at the University of York in England. They'd been preserved within an ancient bog...

Copyright: York Archaeology Trust

The peaty bogs of Northern Europe have preserved the remains of victims of violent deaths from the Iron Age and beyond. Many of the remains capture the condition of the victims in the minutes or hours after their, typically painful, final moments.

Two males from an Irish bog

Another hanged man

Teenaged girl

What makes this poor soul stand out from the crowd is a well-preserved brain within the skull. Despite being around 2500 years old, it represents a 'scene of crime.' The man was hanged and then decapitated. The decapitated head was buried, or ritually given in tribute, in the bog.

fractures and marks on the bones suggest the man, who was aged between 26 and 45, died most probably from hanging, after which he was carefully decapitated and his head was then buried on its own.

Until the discovery and analysis, this man's life followed a path that left no tracks in history.
With advances in science, and the human urge to know more about our past, it's probable that more people know about him now than ever did whilst he lived.

Lead researcher, Dr Sonia O Connor says:

“This is the most thorough investigation ever undertaken of a brain found in a buried skeleton and has allowed us to begin to really understand why brain can survive thousands of years after all the other soft tissues have decayed.”
Scientists trace violent death of Iron Age man

After DNA analysis, the origins of the man appear to have been either Eastern Mediterranean or from Tuscany (Northern France). Carbon dating suggests he lived between 637-480BC.

During the period, there was a culture, or sub-culture, of ritual sacrifices across Northern Europe. We'll never know how extensive these practices were and can only speculate from the evidence.

posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 03:40 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

S & F

Kandinsky those ancient bogs were apparently not the place to be for some.

I read someplace once where they found one body that was recovered which showed signs of being stabbed, head bashed in, throat cut and then hung.

I guess they wanted to make sure he wasn't coming back.

posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 03:53 PM
It's beautifully preserved -- if you hadn't mentioned the source, I would have thought that it came from a medical cabinet in an anatomy lab from the 1800's or early 1900's. It appears to have some slight crushing laterally, but other than that, it's amazing in its preservation.

The man with the cap is probably the "bog body" that is most compelling for me. I don't know why -- something about the peaceful expression intrigues me. I had read that some were drugged before sacrifice and that some seemed to be captives of war and some might be criminals -- but that was some time ago.

If they'd had writing back then, I wonder what they would have recorded. The Romans (to the best of my knowledge) hadn't heard of such things.

posted on Apr, 18 2011 @ 04:20 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

"In the air, even in the chill of a hospital mortuary, brain tissue very quickly decays to liquid before muscle and other soft tissues show much evidence of decay,"

What a great find, having been in a bog all of these years must have been the perfect environment for this brain to have survived all this time.

Scientists and the medical community could learn something about preservation from this.

It is still hard to believe.


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