STUFF I FIND FASCINATING

Storm unearths iron age skeleton.

iron-age
Storm Ophelia has unearthed what appears to be ancient human skeleton with some of its skin still intact after the ex-hurricane battered an Irish coastal walkway with huge waves.

The remains could be up to a thousand years old and were discovered by a walker after ferocious seas eroded the coastal soil.

Ophelia’s 75mph (120 kph) winds lashed at the walkway for hours on Tuesday, eventually revealing what appears to be an ancient burial site.

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy arrived at the scene yesterday and carried out an initial examination, suggesting the remains could be from the Iron Age, which began around 1,000 years ago.

The body has now been taken to Dublin for a forensic investigation into how the person died and how old the remains are.

The bones will be donated to Ireland’s National Museum in Dublin once the investigation concludes.

Archaeologist Maeve Sikora, an expert at the National Museum who helped to excavate the remains, told MailOnline: ‘From where it was found, we can tell it clearly wasn’t a recent burial.

‘The body was probably laid to rest in a stone-lined grave that was destroyed by erosion over the years.

‘It would have been a formal burial, with the arms placed by the side, which we can tell from the position the body was found in.

‘It could be up to a thousand years old but it is difficult to tell. We can’t say with any certainty how old it is until we get a radiocarbon date.’

The skeleton, which reportedly still has some skin attached, was found at Kilmore Quay in Wexford, Ireland, on Tuesday afternoon.

County councillor Jim Moore said: ‘People out walking discovered the remains on Tuesday afternoon. The area has been sealed off since then.

‘It appears to be a grave, so in other words it is not a body that washed ashore.’

The spot where the skeleton was found is named Forlorn Point.

Mr Moore said: ‘It is the closest point to the sea. It is very remote and it now throws up the question whether there are more burial grounds in the area.’

The force of the storm sped up the rate of coastal erosion, revealing the body for the first time in what could be centuries.

Mr Moore added: ‘It is a very tidal area. Erosion is the reason this was found. It left the site exposed and that’s how it was spotted.’

A police spokesperson confirmed: ‘At approximately 4.45pm on Tuesday people out walking at Forlorn Point, Kilmore Quay discovered skeletal remains.

‘Gardai were called and the services of the State Pathologists Office and a Forensic anthropologist were sought.

‘It was established that the remains were historical maybe from the Iron Age. The National Museum will take custody of the remains.’

Storm Ophelia has swept across Britain and Ireland this week, bringing wind gusts of more than 75mph (120 kph).

Three people died in Ireland Tuesday as it was hit by hurricane-force winds and 330,000 people were left without power overnight.

Roofs were ripped off buildings and flights were forced to turn around.

Scotland has faced 77mph (124kph) gusts and parts of its west coast are under flood warnings, while in England several trees were blocking the train line between Halifax and Bradford Interchange in West Yorkshire.

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