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CT scans shed new light on Worsley Man

Scientists and archaeologists at the University of Manchester have uncovered evidence that our ancestors carried out ritual human sacrifice ... in Salford.

CT scans shed new light on Worsley Man
Worsley Man - whose head was found in a Salford peat bog in 1958
 [Credit: University of Manchester]
The discovery, captured on camera for an upcoming documentary, was made during a ground-breaking CT scan of the 1,900-year-old remains of ‘Worsley Man’ - whose head was found in a Salford peat bog in 1958.

Worsley Man, now kept at Manchester Museum but thought to have lived around 100AD when Romans occupied Britain, has been X-rayed before - but never with such an advanced scanner.

CT scans shed new light on Worsley Man
Forensic analysis has revealed that the Iron Age victim was also smashed over the head
 with a heavy blade, garroted and decapitated - in a gruesome group attack 
[Credit: University of Manchester]
The 3D scan at the Manchester X-Ray Imaging Facility revealed a sharp, pointed object hidden deep within Worsley Man’s neck.

According to archaeologist Dr Melanie Giles from the University of Manchester this object appears to be a ceremonial spear tip that snapped off when thrust into him.

CT scans shed new light on Worsley Man
The 3D scan suggests that Salford's Worlsey Man was ritually sacrificed
 [Credit: University of Manchester]
Forensic analysis has revealed that the Iron Age victim was also smashed over the head with a heavy blade, garrotted and decapitated - in a gruesome group attack.

Dr Giles said: “It’s revealing a completely new injury that hasn’t seen the light of day for nearly two thousand years. To see it on a computer screen is no less exciting than finding it in the soil and uncovering it with your trowel. It’s a modern way of making discoveries and that’s ground-breaking and very exciting.”

CT scans shed new light on Worsley Man
Scans shed new light on Worsley Man
The 3D scan revealed a sharp, pointed object hidden deep within Worsley Man’s neck
 [Credit: University of Manchester]
Remarkably, this vicious killing in a bog does not appear to be a one-off.

Worsley Man is one of dozens of Iron-Age bodies unearthed in peat bogs throughout Northern Europe that show signs of violent death. Many of these iron-age victims have been incredibly well preserved by the bog.

Cold, airless conditions prevent flesh-eating micro-organisms from destroying soft tissue whilst acid within the bog effectively tans the flesh turning bodies to leather.

Author: Charlotte Cox | Source: Manchester Evening News [May 17, 2014]
TANN

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