Amazingly Preserved Brain Discovered in 2,600-year-old Severed Head

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Aug. 17 2012 5:22 PM

Amazingly Preserved Brain Discovered in 2,600-year-old Severed Head

Talk about being in a pickle—a remarkably well-preserved human brain has been discovered in a severed head that was dumped in an English bog 2,600 years ago.

Found inside the skull of an unfortunate Iron Age man in his 30s who was hung, then decapitated with his head quickly ending up in the swampy pit, the ancient gray matter is still soft, "tofu-like in texture," and odorless, with no signs of bacterial or fungal activity.

73136584
An incredibly well-preserved brain has been discovered in a skull found in an English bog that dates back 2600 years.

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Advertisement

Considering that brain tissue normally liquefies rapidly when exposed to air, finding a perfectly pickled prehistoric brain is an incredible discovery. But a brain in a bog—especially one inside a freshly liberated head—has a distinct advantage, it seems. Researchers note that, with no bacteria from the rest of the body to contaminate it along with its boggy, oxygen-starved burial grounds, the brain could indeed stand the test of time.

OK, let’s hook this thing up to some electric current and one of those robot mouths and see what it says!

Video by Paca Thomas.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 5:19 PM Social Outcasts Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 4:59 PM China’s Not the Problem With Carbon Emissions. We Are.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.