Charnel house gives up its secret: 1,000 human bones





A STONE AGE burial chamber in Orkney has yielded a gruesome haul of more than 1,000 human bones, it was revealed yesterday.
 
The 5,000-year-old human bones - numbering at least 1,000, but possibly as many as 2,000 - were found in just one of the five chambers of the Banks Tomb on South Ronaldsay. 
 
The burial chamber, also known as the Tomb of the Otters because large  numbers of otter remains were also found there, was discovered last year by a local farmer working the land. In December, archaeologists recovered the remains of eight people from the tomb.

New research, in which two separate cells in the tomb were investigated, has almost doubled this number to at least 14, though it is very likely this number will end up much higher.

The bones were preserved in several layers on the bottom of the stone-lined cell, or cist, which were divided by layers of silt, which might indicate that the tomb had been used over different periods of time and fell out of use in the intervening years. ....



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