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A Storm Blew Over a 215-Year-Old Tree and Unearthed a Medieval Mystery


"Violent death"

Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services in Ireland was founded just this month and it's calling its first project "an interesting one."

A storm blew over a 215-year-old beech tree, unearthing more than just the root system. Along with the tree, embedded in the dirt and tangled with the roots was part of a human skeleton. The other part remained in the ground.

The upper portion of the skeleton under excavation, trapped in the root matrix of the collapsed beech tree.

Posted by Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services on Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The skeleton was discovered in Collooney, a town in Sligo County, and further analysis of the remains identified it as a 17 to 20-year-old man who "suffered a violent death during the early medieval period," dying sometime between 1030 and 1200 AD based on radiocarbon dating.

Archaeologists observed injuries to his ribs and hand, which they speculate were knife wounds.

The lower leg bones of the skeleton remain in the grave, undisturbed. The upper leg bones (femora) were broken when the tree toppled over.Photo: Thorsten Kahlert

Posted by

Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services on Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"He had been given a formal Christian burial, however," a Facebook post from the archaeological consultant firm stated.

Irish Archaeology reported the firm's director Dr. Marion Dowd said there were no other known burials in the area, "but historical records do indicate a possible graveyard and church in the vicinity’.

(H/T: io9)

Front page story via Shutterstock.

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