Skeleton of found five years ago in a cave outside Ballyvaughan, West Ireland, was analysed and proven to belong to a teenage boy that died in period between 16th-17th centuries.
A human skull that was initially discovered by cavers in 2011 prompted a rescue archaeological excavation. The full scientific investigations of the skeleton just revealed details about the youth, who died in the 16th or 17th century. The small size of the skeleton led the team to think it was of a child. However, subsequent analysis of the teeth in particular revealed the remains belonged to someone who had died aged 14 to 16 years old. There was evidence of stunted growth, almost certainly a result of malnutrition and hunger. The stunted growth also meant that the sex of the individual could not be determined by normal archaeological methods. Tooth samples were sent to two different laboratories for ancient DNA analysis and both confirmed the individual was a teenage boy. Radiocarbon dating revealed the teenager had died sometime between 1520 and 1670. The experts suggest that the most likely timeframe for the boy’s death is during the Commonwealth period (1649-1660), when the region endured nearly two decades of famine, warfare, disease, and mass human casualty.
(after The Clare Champion)