Archaeologists at IT Sligo have found bones of a Stone Age child and an adult in a tiny cave high on Knocknarea mountain near the town.
Radiocarbon dating has shown that they are some 5,500 years old, which makes them among the earliest human bones found in the county.
The find represents important fresh evidence of Knocknarea’s Neolithic (Stone Age) links and a prehistoric practice known as “excarnation”.
Researchers discovered a total of 13 small bones and bone fragments in an almost inaccessible cave last November. Read more.
From Egyptian mummies to Ötzi the Iceman, human remains are a common, if macabre, feature of museum exhibits. Writing in Clinical Anatomy, Dr. Philippe Charlier explores the argument that curators have an ethical obligation to return these bodies to their native communities for burial.
The recent case of the ‘Irish Giant’ Charles Byrne reveals that this is not an issue limited to cadavers from pre-antiquity. Byrne found celebrity in the 1780s and while his skeleton remains in the Royal College of Surgeons in London, ethics experts argue his remains should be buried at sea in accordance with his wishes. Read more.
German scientists have announced after almost 26 years of research that the bones interred for centuries at Aachen Cathedral are likely to be those of Charlemagne.
Researchers confirmed on Wednesday evening - 1,200 years to the day since Charlemagne died - that the 94 bones and bone fragments taken from the supposed resting place of the King of the Franks and founder of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire came from a tall, thin, older man.
The team first opened the sarcophagus of the first emperor in western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire in secret in 1988 and presented their results for the first time on Wednesday. Read more.
Evidence linked to one of Edinburgh’s most nefarious trade has emerged from the rear garden of a house in the Haymarket district, according to archaeologists who have linked humans remains unearthed more than a year ago to the body snatching era made infamous by Irish killers Burke and Hare.
Belonging to four adults and at least one child, the disarticulated remains — about 60 bones — feature small holes used to re-articulate the skeletons with wire. This suggests they were used for anatomical display, said experts at consultants GUARD Archaeology.
"The forensic archaeologist at GUARD also identified that some of the bones had very smooth shinny patches, suggesting that they had been handled many times," John Lawson, from the City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service, told Discovery News. Read more.
Recreating the story of humanity’s past by studying ancient bones can hit a snag when they deteriorate, but scientists are now reporting an advance inspired by seashells that can better preserve valuable remains. Their findings, which appear in the ACS journal Langmuir, could have wide-ranging implications for both archeology and paleontology.
Luigi Dei and colleagues explain that a process similar to osteoporosis causes bones discovered at historically significant sites to become brittle and fragile—and in the process, lose clues to the culture they were once part of. Preserving them has proved challenging. Current techniques to harden and strengthen bones use vinyl and acrylic polymers. They act as a sort of glue, filling in cracks and holding fragments together, but they are not ideal. In an effort to stanch the loss of information due to damage, Dei’s team set out to find a better way to preserve old bones. Read more.
Fragments of human bones that exhibit cut marks and prolonged exposure to fire have been discovered through various excavations in the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan (located in Mexico City). These skeletal remains are from individuals, such as children, slaves and captured warriors, who were sacrificed during religious festivals.
At the time of the Spanish conquest in 1521, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was one of the largest cities in the world, potentially numbering 200,000 inhabitants. Over a period of 200 years it grew from a small settlement on an island in Lake Texcoco into a powerful political, economic, and religious centre. Read more.
A few fragmentary bones thought to be the remains of Neanderthals actually belonged to medieval Italians, new research finds.
The study is a reanalysis of a tooth, which was found in in a cave in northeastern Italy along with a finger bone and another tooth. Originally, researchers identified these scraps as belonging to Neanderthals, the early cousins of humans who went extinct about 30,000 years ago. Instead, the new study reveals the bones to belong to modern Homo sapiens.
There’s no telling whom the original owner of the teeth and finger was, but the cave where they were discovered was both a hermitage, or dwelling place, and the site of a grisly medieval massacre. Read more.
THEIR remains have been undisturbed for hundreds of years. But today the skeletons of what are thought to have been Wallingford’s earliest residents will be reburied.
The remains of more than 500 people dating back to the 900s were discovered next to St Martin’s Street – the Waitrose site – during an archaeological dig 10 years ago.
The bones were excavated when the old 1960s shops were being demolished to make way for the new Waitrose in 2003.
Today the full set of 211 skeletal remains, and bones from the partial remains of about 300 other people, will be reburied in Wallingford Cemetery in Castle Street. Archaeologist Iain Soden, who oversaw the excavation, said: “People talk about closure and today is a very personal sort of closure. They were real people and it is very important they end up somewhere they would want to be.” Read more.