Mummies were discovered in 2001 in Scotland, but almost a decade passed before their gruesome secret was revealed.
These unusual Bronze Age mummies were actually assembled by body parts that came from many different people. To make matters worse, archaelogists suspect that the mummies were playing a central role in the Scottish society for three to five centuries before they were finally buried.
This practice is also reminiscent of the traditions of certain societies in other parts of the world where indigenous people retain the remains of their ancestors; often, they ask those remains for advice and guidance.
The four mummies were found in 2001 in the prehestoric Scottish village Cladh Hallan and constitute the oldest piece of evidence that deliberate mummification in the area of Britain occured. The first tests showed that these are the remains of a three month old baby, a young adult woman, a woman in her forties and a man.
Tests conducted by the University of Manchester researchers revealed that one of the female mummies actually consists of body parts from three different people. Some parts, such as the skull, come from a man.
Carbon dating and isotope analysis suggest that the male mummy as well is a “puzzle”. According to the researchers, the mummies were probably assemblies of members of the same family. Their creators probably wanted to honor and keep with them their ancestors.
The interesting thing is that the site the mummies were found was 300-500 years older than the mummies. This indicates that the mummies were not buried immediately, but played an active role in society, as happens in other parts of the world.
Regarding the mummification method, it appears that the remains were submerged in acid swamps until the bacterial activity of decomposition stopped.