Hospital scanner probes Iron Age bog death

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The head of an Iron Age man who died almost 2,000 years ago has been scanned in a Manchester hospital to shed light on how he died. Worsley Man is thought to have lived around 100 AD when Romans occupied much of Britain. 

Bryan Sitch, curator of archaeology at the museum, said it now appeared the man had been beaten about the head, garrotted and then beheaded [Credit: BBC]

Since its discovery in a Salford peat bog in 1958, the head has been kept at Manchester Museum on Oxford Road. 

The scans at the Manchester Children’s Hospital have now revealed more details about his violent death. 

Doctors said CAT scan tests revealed damage to the remains of his neck, almost certainly caused by a ligature. 

Speculation about the death of the man, thought to be in his 20s or 30s, has previously included robbery or human sacrifice. 

‘2,000-year-old patient’ 

Bryan Sitch, curator of archaeology at Manchester Museum, said it now appeared the man was bludgeoned over the head, garrotted then beheaded. 

Computed Tomography (CT) scan of the head of Worsley Man. The scan shows a number of staples used to repair the skull following a Coroner’s inquest in the 1950s [Credit: Professor Judith Adams/Manchester Academic Health Science Centre]

He said: “The radiology staff at the hospital were quite excited to have a 2,000-year-old patient. 

“This really was an extraordinary level of violence, it could be that there was some sort of ritual behind this.” 

The death of Worsley Man shares some similarities with another Iron Age body found in a Cheshire peat bog in 1984. 

Tests on Lindow Man, who lived around 150 years earlier, suggest he had also been garrotted, as well as having his throat slit. 

Source: BBC News Website [March 08, 2012]

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