Archaeologists Unearth Hollowed-Out Whale Vertebra Containing Human Jawbone, Remains of Newborn Lambs
by Jason Daley/Smithsonian.com
When archaeologists excavated a Scottish Iron Age site called the Cairns in 2016, they discovered a hollowed-out whale vertebra filled with a trio of unexpected objects: a human jaw bone and the remains of two newborn lambs. Dated to about the mid-2nd century A.D., the vessel was propped near the entrance of a broch, or type of roundhouse, and held in place by a pair of red deer antlers and a large grinding stone.
“All this treatment appears to have been part of the measures employed to perform an act of closure of the broch,” reads a statement from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute.
A new DNA analysis conducted by researchers at the institute adds a new piece to this perplexing puzzle. As Huw Williams reports for BBC News, the team’s preliminary findings suggest the bone belongs to a fin whale. Given the fact that fin whales are the second largest whale species on Earth, UHI archaeologist Martin Carruthers says this determination may help archaeologists address a much-debated question: Did Iron Age Scots actively hunt the massive whales, or did they simply make the most of animals swept ashore?
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.