British archaeologists unearthed a 2,000-year-old skull in a field near York Friday, inside of which they claim lies the remains of the “oldest human brain” in Britain and one of the earliest worldwide, according to BBC.
The skull, which was buried during the Iron Age, was sent to York‚ Hospital for a CT scan after one of the team members felt something move while cleaning it. ‚ The scan confirmed the‚ presence‚ of brain tissue, spotting a mass about a third of the size of a normal brain.
Archaeologists say the skull was most likely buried between 300 BC and one BC, and that the deceased either died by beheading or had his or her head cut off soon after death.
“From the size, it was probably an adult but we can’t say whether it was a man or woman. There is no obvious cause of death because the skull is still intact,” said‚ Dr. Richard Hall, Director of Archaeology at the York Archaeological Trust; one of his teams discovered the skull. ‚ “We are confident that the skull was buried in this small pit and that it has lain undisturbed since the Iron Age.”
The finding however is unlikely to help reveal any new information about the brain since the organ has not changed much over the last 2,000 years, according to Chris Godsen, a professor of archeology at Oxford University.
Since the brain consists of fatty tissue which microbes in the soil usually absorb, a‚ finding‚ like this is very rare.
Archaeologists‚ believe the skull, which was found in its own muddy pit, could be a ritualistic or religious offering.
Earlier this year, at the same site,‚ archeologists‚ found a man whom they‚ believe‚ to be one of Britain’s earliest tuberculosis victims. ‚ Radiocarbon dating found that the man died during the fourth century, in the late-Roman period, according to BBC.