700-year-old murder discovered

January 24, 2006

It took 700 years and the creation of computers, but the mystery of the Bocksten Man -- Sweden's oldest human skeleton -- has been solved: he was killed.

Scientists previously assumed the skull, found in Bocksten bog near the Swedish town of Varberg in 1936, had been damaged by being buried since the 1300s, The Local reported Tuesday.

But Sahlgrenska University Hospital craniofacial expert Professor Claes Lauritzen used computer tomography to reconstruct the skull Monday and then determined it had been damaged by three blows to the man's head with a pole or hammer.

"I'm a bit surprised that nobody did this kind of analysis earlier, but that's probably because they were being so careful with the original skull," he said.

Eventually a model maker will give the skull a "real" face and the final result will be displayed in Varberg Museum, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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