As per the New Journal of Archaeological Science Study, one of the finest and unparallel conservation of the primitive human brain containing the skull was noticed in a soggy and mucky pit at Heslington, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. The brain is said to be around 2684 years old belonging to a man of the Iron Age era. He was first hanged and later beheaded causing his head to fall into the pit. According to the scientists, in addition to the skull being submerged under water for a long duration, the deficiency of oxygen in the tissues led to the extraordinary conservation of the brain. It is believed that this brain is one of the outstanding examples of preservation of human brains around the world.
Glen Doran, chair of the anthropology department in Florida feels that mind boggling and bewildering things turn up from the slime. Rapid burial in watery or liquefied environment lacking oxygen are the pre requisites for the conservation of human brain tissues. The cranium which is designed to safeguard the brain, if kept under appropriate conditions can protect it even after death.
As per Sonia O’Connor, a post -doctoral research associate at the University of Bradford, the ancient skull belonged to a man apparently in his thirties. The damage to the vertebrae was expected with hanging. The head was then detached from the neck using a knife. This was used to cut through the throat and between the vertebrae and has left a bunch of fine cut marks on the bone. It is believed that the site dealt with a ritual function that prevailed from the Bronze Age till the early Roman period. Although the reason for his killing is not known, it is quite possible that it might have been a ritual murder or a human sacrifice. According to her an arbitrary series of events for the brain led to its remarkable conservation.
Experts say that the remnants were buried immediately after the death in moist conditions where inadequacy of oxygen obstructed the brain from putrefying. The wet environment seems to be apt for preserving the brains due to the different chemistry of the brain tissue. Contrary to this other soft human parts may not be retained perfectly under such conditions. If this brain were to be kept in a hospital mortuary it would have decayed faster than muscle and other soft tissues. However O’Connor feels that other aspects should also be taken into consideration such as certain diseases or physiological changes that might induce the brain to be preserved in this manner.