Could Iron Age Scots Have Hunted 85 Foot Whales?


Archaeologists Unearth Hollowed-Out Whale Vertebra Containing Human Jawbone, Remains of Newborn Lambs

by Jason Daley/

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?

Read more:

Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy