CNN has an interesting piece on how an archaeological dig in the North of England has dug up intact human brain tissue, preserved for 2,000 years.
Rachel Cubitt, who was taking part in the dig, described how she felt something move inside the cranium as she cleaned the soil-covered skull’s outer surface. Peering through the base of the skull, she spotted an unusual yellow substance.
“It jogged my memory of a university lecture on the rare survival of ancient brain tissue. We gave the skull special conservation treatment as a result, and sought expert medical opinion,” she said in a statement on York University’s Web site.
A sophisticated CT scanner at York Hospital was then used to produce startlingly clear images of the skull’s contents.
Philip Duffey, Consultant Neurologist at the Hospital said: “I’m amazed and excited that scanning has shown structures which appear to be unequivocally of brain origin. I think that it will be very important to establish how these structures have survived, whether there are traces of biological material within them and, if not, what is their composition.”