Skull found off UK coast could be victim of century-old shipwreck

Officials say human skull remains found on a beach in the UK could be hundreds of years old.

The remains were found on a beach in Cornwall, England, according to a report from Cornwall Council. Emily Stevenson, co-founder of a regional environmental group called the Beach Guardian, stumbled upon the remains while organizing a cleanup of the shoreline in early January.

“The beach cleanup we hosted that day was just like any other, and I went looking for plastic in the dunes as usual. The dunes are a great place to explore old rubbish because the sand can perfectly preserve it for decades – only now preserved here. I really know that the thing isn’t plastic!” said in the newsletter.

The remains of a human skull found on a Cornish beach in January 2023.  / credit: Cornwall Council

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

The find was investigated by the Cornwall Council’s Strategic Historic Environment Team, as well as Devon and Cornwall police. The group determined that the remains were “historic in nature.”

Ann Reynolds, senior officer for Cornwall Council’s Rural Historic Environment team, said in a news release that it was clear the skull had been “there for some time” and that the remains may have belonged to a “lost” shipwreck victim. centuries ago and was buried by local people.”

Reynolds said similar remains were found in November 2022. However, those found in January are better preserved as they are covered with sand. The remains found in November are also believed to belong to a shipwreck victim.

“Historic burials tend to appear every two years, but it’s more unusual for two sets of remains to appear over the course of two months,” Reynolds said. Said. “It serves as a reflection of the ever-changing coastline and the potential for more archaeological remains to emerge, especially at this time of year.”

The bones found in January will be excavated and analyzed to find out information such as how old the bones are and what the victim’s place of origin may be, Reynolds said.

Cornwall Council said in a news release announcing the find of the November remains that “it is not unusual to find such remains on the Corniche coast”, especially after stormy weather and cliff falls. People are advised to call the police immediately if they find bones or other remains while at the beach. Residues should not be touched or moved.

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