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Fri Nov 9, 2018, 01:08 AM

The Gauls really did embalm the severed heads of enemies, research shows

New chemical analysis of iron age skulls confirms the grisly practice, referred to in ancient texts

Nicola Davis
@NicolaKSDavis
Wed 7 Nov 2018 01.01 EST

They were fearsome warriors who cut off the heads of their enemies and displayed them for all to see, bringing them back from battle hanging around their horses’ necks. But now research has confirmed that the Gauls did not merely sever the heads of their foes, they appear to have embalmed them to boot.

Experts say they have found traces of conifer resins on the remains of skulls discovered at the iron age settlement of Le Cailar in the south of France – a discovery they say backs up ancient reports that the Celtic Gauls preserved their grisly trophies.

“In fact the ancient texts told about us the head [being] embalmed with cedar oil … thanks to our chemical analysis we know that this information is right,” said Réjane Roure, co-author of the study from Paul Valéry University of Montpellier.

Previous finds at other sites have included a sculpture of a mounted warrior, not only with sword and spear but a head slung around the neck of the horse, while the gruesome practice is also noted in a number of ancient texts, and supported by discoveries of human skulls with marks of decapitation, and even nails inside them.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/07/the-gauls-really-did-embalm-the-severed-heads-of-enemies-research-shows




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