A stone that is the first known example of a human skull from Antarctica has been identified as belonging to a man who died in 1778.
The stone, which has a smooth surface, has been found on a cliffside in the town of Topaz.
“I am so delighted to find that this ancient skull has been revealed to be that of a young man who lived in the region in 1776,” said Dr Daniel Arohman, from the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at Cambridge University.
“It was found on an isolated rock in a very unusual location, on an inaccessible rock, in an area of extreme isolation.”
The skull was found by archaeologists at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) base in Antarctica’s Kerguelen Ice Shelf.
The researchers described it as a “unique find”, adding: “The find provides an insight into the life and times of the young man, and will serve as a crucial piece in our understanding of the history of Antarctica.”
The bones were found by the BAS team on the Antarctic Peninsula in August.
The bones have been in the possession of the German-German Archeological Society, which is now researching the stone’s origins.
Dr Arohalman said: “We can only guess as to the age of the individual, but we do know that he was probably in his mid-20s or early 30s when he died, probably between March and May 1776.”
The stone is believed to be of European origin. “
This stone handle was probably the one used by the deceased to remove the skull from the rock slab.”
The stone is believed to be of European origin.
Dr Christopher Wren, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, said the find was significant because it was the first direct evidence of human remains from Antarctica.
He said: ‘This is the earliest known human skull that we know of from Antarctica, and that is quite amazing because this is a part of a very remote area, so we are only just beginning to understand how far these ancient humans travelled.’
Dr Arodman said the site was also very unusual in that it was an isolated place.
“We have never found a human skeleton in Antarctica before,” he said.
“If you’re looking for a place that is isolated, you’ve got to go to Antarctica, because this one is absolutely remarkable.”
He said there were no signs of the surrounding population living in the area.
“The only other skeleton in the site that we could identify was a young woman that lived in a hut that was built on a rock with an unusual hole in the roof, and her bones are not here,” he added.