​Medieval Skeleton Tree Unveils Hidden Mystery After Researchers Conducted Radiocarbon Dating

Author: Rob AdamsBy:
Staff Reporter
Sep. 17, 2015

A medieval skeleton tree unveils a hidden mystery after it was found by a private property in the town of Collooney in County Sligo, Ireland. Archaeologists have unearthed startling details after dating the body from an era between between 1030 and 1200 AD, according to FOX News.

The medieval skeleton was found inside the roots that were upturned, tangled in wreckage that shocked its landowner. The tree was then investigated by Ireland’s National Monuments Service that called in Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services, an archaeological consultancy, to investigate with an aim of preserving the remains.

Sligo-Leitrim shared the story of the find, its first project, last week. While the roots are about 215 years old, but the body turned out to be much older.

Medieval skeleton in tree found in root system

The medieval skeleton in the tree was seen with its lower legs still in the ground after it uprooted on the property. Researchers used radiocarbon dating to estimate that the body came from between 1030 and 1200 AD, making it an ancient burial.

Despite being trapped in the root system, the skeleton told a fascinating story. It belonged to a young man, probably no more than 20 years old at the time of his death.

The medieval skeleton revealed that the man’s passing was a violent one, with apparent knife injuries to his ribs and hand. The archaeologists describe the tree as a “formal Christian burial.”

“No other burials are known from the area but historical records do indicate a possible graveyard and church in the vicinity,” archaeologist Marion Dowd said.

The medieval skeleton has attracted attention due to its interesting place in history as well as the dramatic way in which it was revealed during the same era. The tree also provides an unexpected peek into a past where hard labor was a way of life and young death a much more common possibility.

The upper body of the remains is still entangled in the roots, and ripped from the ground, while the man’s lower legs remained intact in its organic tomb. It’s like a scene found in an episode of “Bones.”

The tree toppled during the May storms in Sligo in Ireland. The foot bones of the medieval skeleton are still in the grave beneath the old beech root system.

The leg bones also remained in the muddy grave. Radiocarbon, or carbon-14, is a naturally occurring isotope of carbon that decays at a known rate and is often used for archaeological dating.

The leg bones of the medieval skeleton tree remained in the ground, but the upper part of the body, including the spine, was torn out of the ground. The property owner discovered the body after seeing the leg bones, which are visible in the ground.

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