A violent storm in the small town of Collooney, Ireland, uprooted a 200-year old tree, unearthing a skeleton from the medieval period. The remains are of a male teenager, between 17 and 20 years of age, who was brutally murdered. There are knife wounds located in his ribs and hands. Mild spinal joint disease indicates he likely performed some form of physical labour for most of his life.
The remains were given a formal Christian burial at the time of burial, but their location is also mysterious. Marion Dowd, of Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services, said that "no other burials are known from the", though there may once have been a church and accompanying graveyard nearby.
The tree itself was a 200-year old beech tree, whose roots grew into the skeleton as the tree aged. When the tree was uprooted from the ground, so was the upper half of the skeleton.
When the tree was lifted from the ground, the skeleton broke in two, leaving the lower half still in the ground:
The lower leg bones of the skeleton remain in the grave, undisturbed. The upper leg bones (femora) were broken when the tree toppled over.Photo: Thorsten Kahlert
Radiocarbon dating puts the date of the murder between 1030 and 1200. Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services is still analyzing the remains, and will keep their Facebook page updated.