The village of Cladh Hallan on the Scottish island of South Uist is a site of historical interest due to the age of the village itself. Dating back to prehistoric times, parts of this area give clues to what life must have been like in centuries past. One of the most interesting of these clues was the discovery of two mummies underneath the ruins of an 11th century home–human remains that had been preserved and then re-buried. These preserved remains, theorized to have been kept in the peat bogs to resist decomposition, have fascinated scientists and historians alike for many years. Recently, even more information of these ‘bog bodies’ have come to light that ultimately results in even more questions about these ancient people.
The remains. which were so perfectly preserved they have a nearly statue-like quality, were once thought to be two bodies of a man and a woman. However, recent questions about the structure of the mummies led to DNA experiments, which has led to the new suggestion that they are not the bodies of simply two people–they are instead compilations of several different body parts from several different people. If this is indeed the scenario, what was the human race experimenting with thousands of years ago? Was this a prehistoric ‘Frankenstein’ or part of some ancient ritual, lost to time?
The questions of course are still being answered as more interest grows in these mummies. What has been determined is that the female body is made of parts that were within the same period of time, however the male has parts that are several hundred years apart according to isotopic dating (also known as radiometric dating, or the method for determining the age of an object based on the concentration of a particular radioactive isotope contained within it).
It will likely be some time, if ever, that any type of real hypothesis can be made on why these bodies were pieced together and buried the way they were. It is however, a unique example of no matter how much we have learned, surmised and theorized about life and the human race thousands of years ago–there is still so much we do not know.