Researchers are not yet sure if it’s human, but an ancient skull found at a Norwegian archaeological dig site is exciting scientists because of what they think they discovered inside — brain matter.
The bones, thought to be about 8,000 years old, were uncovered at a camp in Stokke, Norway, and could be evidence of a Stone Age man.
If the “grey and clay-like” material inside the skull is preserved brain matter, it could give scientists an opportunity to find information they have not been able to study before.
According to Ancient Origins, this wouldn’t be the first time preserved brain tissue has been found, but it could be one of the oldest examples:
For example, brain tissue has been found in the preserved body of an Incan child sacrificed 500 years ago. Her body was found at the top of an Andean mountain where the body swiftly froze, preserving the brain. An older example comes from a 4,000-year-old brain in Turkey, which had been preserved following an earthquake which buried the individual, followed by a fire that consumed any oxygen in the rubble and boiled the brain in its own fluids.
“It’s seldom enough that we get to dig in a camp from a portion of the Stone Age that we really don’t know much about,” excavation lead Gaute Reitan told NRK (via News in English). “But the fact that we’re uncovering a whole lot of things that are exceptional on a national basis, makes this very special.”
The skull and other bones that were found are currently being analyzed and could “help us learn more about what it was like to live in the Stone Age in Norway,” Reitan said.