When life was more easily lost

Science Daily takes us back to an age undreamed of, when shining cities gleamed like jewels beneath the stars. Hither came archaeologists, seeking what killed this Iron Age warrior… and why his brain is so well-preserved:

Since the discovery, the brain and skull have been kept in strictly controlled conditions, but scientists have examined samples using a range of sophisticated equipment including a CT scanner at York Hospital and mass spectrometers at the University of York.

Samples of brain material had a DNA sequence that matched sequences found only in a few individuals from Tuscany and the Near East. Carbon dating suggests the remains date from between 673-482BC.

Peri-mortem fractures on the second neck vertebrae are consistent with a traumatic spondylolisthesis and a cluster of about nine horizontal fine cut-marks made by a thin-bladed instrument, such as a knife, are visible on the frontal aspect of the centrum.

Histological studies found remnants of brain tissue structures and highly sensitive neuroimmunological techniques, together with analyses, demonstrated the presence of a range of lipids and brain specific proteins in the remains.