Skull found on UK beach may be from eternal shipwreck victim

Skull found on UK beach may be from eternal shipwreck victim

Skull found on UK beach may be from eternal shipwreck victim

The remains of a human skull found on a UK beach could be hundreds of years old, officials say.

The remains were found on a beach in Cornwall, England, according to a press release from Cornwall Council. Emily Stevenson, the co-founder of an environmental group in the area called Beach Guardian, found the remains earlier in January while organizing a shoreline cleanup.

“The clean beach we hosted that day was like any other and I went as usual to search the dunes for plastic. Dunes are a great place to discover vintage litter as the sand can preserve them perfectly for decades – only now I know for a fact that it is not plastic that is kept here!” he said in the press release.

The remains of a human skull were found on a Cornish coast in January 2023. / Credit: Cornwall Council

The remains of a human skull were found on a Cornish coast in January 2023. / Credit: Cornwall Council

The find was investigated by Devon and Cornwall Police, as well as Cornwall Council’s Strategic Historic Environment Team. The team found that the remains were “historical in nature”.

Ann Reynolds, senior officer of Cornwall Council’s Rural Historic Environment team, said in the press release that it was clear the skull had “been there for some time” and said it was possible the remains belonged to a shipwreck victim “lost before many centuries and was buried by the local population”.

Reynolds said similar remains were found in November 2022. However, those found in January are better preserved because they were encased in sand. Remains found in November are also believed to belong to a wreck victim.

“Historical burials tend to occur every two years or so, but having two sets of remains appear within two months is more unusual,” Reynolds said. “It serves as a reflection of the ever-changing coastline and the potential for more archaeological remains to be uncovered, particularly at this time of year.”

Reynolds said the bones found in January will be exhumed and analyzed to learn information such as how old the bones are and what the victim’s place of origin may have been.

In a press release announcing the November find, Cornwall Council said it was “not unusual to find such remains along the Cornish coast”, particularly after storms and rockfalls. If people find bones or other debris while on the beaches, they are advised to call the police immediately. Debris should not be touched or moved.

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