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Iron Age Hair Recovered on Scottish Island

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Orkney broch hairORKNEY, SCOTLAND—The Scotsman reports that about 20 strands of hair thought to be 2,000 years old have been discovered in a chamber that was located some six feet under a tower now known as The Cairns Broch, on Scotland’s island of South Ronaldsay. A wooden bowl and pegs were found protected by damp silt in the same chamber earlier this month. Martin Carruthers of the University of the Highlands and Islands said the hair looks like human hair, and is still pliable and shiny. Measuring about three inches long, it could potentially record about eight months’ worth of information on the person’s diet and health. “We have recovered some human remains from the site in the past, such as a mandible and the odd tooth, but nothing as exciting as the hair which [has] enormous potential to give us a more vivid picture of the humanity of the broch,” Carruthers said. To read in-depth about excavations on Orkney, go to Neolithic Europe's Remote Heart.

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