Interesting news from Collooney in Co. Sligo where archaeologists working for Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services (on behalf of the National Monuments Service) have discovered an early medieval skeleton in unusual circumstances. The body was identified earlier this year beneath a 200 year old beech tree that had blown down during a storm. Slightly bizarrely, the upper part of the skeleton was found raised in the air, within the tree’s up-turned root system, while the legs were still in the ground.
Preliminary analysis has indicated that the remains consist of young man who was between 17 and 25 years old when he died. His bones contained several injuries which had been inflicted by a sharp blade, possibly a sword or knife. He had obviously suffered a violent death, but whether these wounds were related to an ancient battle or a personal dispute remains unknown. The body was subsequently buried in a shallow east-west oriented grave and radiocarbon analysis indicates that this occurred sometime between 1030 and 1200 AD.
According to archaeologist Marion Dowd, ‘No other burials are known from the area but historical records do indicate a possible graveyard and church in the vicinity’. Post-excavation work for this site is still on-going and hopefully this will shed further light on this man and the nature of his death nearly 1000 years ago.