Ancient skull discovered in eastern Norway


Share post:

The Norwegian farmer says the 2,900-year-old skull was found by chance. There is no indication as to the cause of death for now.

Ancient skull discovered in eastern Norway
Archaeologist May-Tove Smiseth holding the skull fragments. It is still unknown 
what the young victim died from [Credit: Kjetil Skare]

“My father was operating a digging machine and I got down into the ditch. A small ball suddenly fell out of the loader bucket right in front of my feet,” Stange municipality-based farmer Halvor Stenberg tells NRK, Tuesday.

What he discovered turned out to be something unexpected. Picking it up, bits of skull started coming away in his hand.

Archaeologists believe that the skull belonged to a man close to 20 years of age. At the same time, how the victim died currently remains a mystery.

“We can’t be 100 per cent sure that he was sacrificed, but we are comparing the remains with other bog bodies found in Northern Europe,” Hedmark County archaeologist Kjetil Skare says to The Foreigner.

“Bog acids in Norway are also of a different type than elsewhere. This means that we usually only find bones, in comparison to soft tissue in other parts. When it comes to other bog bodies, we’ve observed that the person was killed several times (using several methods) – such as by strangulation and slitting the throat.”

Mr Skare and his colleagues also found the remains of a body of a woman a couple of months ago. According to him, this further strengthens the theory that the latest discovery is of a sacrificial victim.

“They started to cremate people when they were buried during the last part of the Bronze Age in Norway (about 1100-500 BC) and in pre-Roman Iron Age times (4th-1st Century BC). It is not likely the remains we have discovered indicate a normal burial, because the body would have lain in a mound,” the expert says.

“We can also rule out the accident theory, because we now have eight sets of remains from those Ages that have been found in Hedmark.”

What could be other causes?

“One possibility is that it was a punishment,” explains Mr Skare. “Roman Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus (ca. 200-72 AD) wrote about Northern European tribes around the time of 0 BC having disposed of criminals in open lakes, killing the body in several ways.”

All archaeologists currently have of the latest discovery is the back of the head and some side parts. There is little indicating other damage, but the facial bones are still missing.

What will happen now, then?

“Our job as county archaeologists is just to find and mark the spot where the discovery was made. Oslo Museum of Cultural History staff will conduct more of an extensive dig both here and where the previous discovery was made,” concludes Mr Skare, adding that there is extremely little research that has been published about bog bodies.

Author: Michael Sandelson | Source: The Foreigner [June 10, 2014]



Related articles

Study finds aquarium tropical fish imports to the U.S. often misreported

As the popularity of marine aquariums rises, so does the demand for wildlife inhabiting them. Most aquarium fish...

Officials say human remains may be at Titanic shipwreck site

Human remains may be embedded in the mud of the North Atlantic where the New York-bound Titanic came...

Divers say they’ve found wreck of Oliver Hazard Perry’s ship off Westerly

A team of Connecticut scuba divers say they’ve discovered off the Westerly coast the wreck of a ship...

The cyber-centipede: From Linnaeus to big data

Taxonomic descriptions, introduced by Linnaeus in 1735, are designed to allow scientists to tell one species from another....

NY court rules gold tablet belongs to Berlin museum

In a ruling rejecting any claims to the “spoils of war,” New York’s highest court concluded Thursday that...

Centuries-old Japanese temple treasures discovered at museum in Munich

A stunning collection of centuries-old theatrical masks that is believed to have vanished from the famed Horyuji temple...

Rainforest conservation needs new direction to address climate change

Conservation and international aid groups may be on the wrong course to address the havoc wreaked on tropical...

“Spooky action at a distance” aboard the ISS

Albert Einstein famously described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at distance"; however, up until now experiments that examine...