Museum Skeleton’s Shocking Journey: Ancient Bones Discovered In Storage

A museum skeleton has been rediscovered after lying undisturbed in storage in the basement of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for the better part of a century. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is commonly called Penn Museum. It was established in 1887 and has conducted in excess of 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions worldwide since that time.

The stunning news about the museum skeleton came Tuesday as Penn Museum, which is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, announced the rare discovery. The museum had reportedly lost track of documentation regarding the remains until recently, according to Reuters.

The ancient 6,500-year-old bones were the fruits of an expedition conducted by the British Museum and the Penn Museum from 1922 to 1934. The museum skeleton was originally found in what is now known as modern-day Iraq during an excavation beneath the ruins of a cemetery that dates all the way back to 2,500 BC.

Archaeologists from the first part of the last century removed the bones from a layer of silt 40 feet beneath the Royal Cemetary of Ur. The skeletal remains are so old that they even predate the Royal Cemetary of Ur by 2,000 years.

In addition, the museum skeleton predates other remains unearthed during Woolley’s excavation by two millennia.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the museum skeleton was discovered in 1930 by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley and his team. Thus began the skeleton’s shocking journey. It was sent to England before making its way to Pennsylvania. Although Woolley’s own records indicated that he had forwarded the human remains to Penn Museum, the documentation was mislaid until now.

In 1990, the museum marked the skeleton “not accounted for,” reported UPI.

The museum skeleton lay unnoticed for eighty-five years in the basement of Penn Museum before a 2012 project to digitize old records uncovered documentation for the rediscovery. Amazingly, the museum even has photographs of the early 20th century archaeological dig as the skeleton was unearthed circa 1930.

Dr. Hafford is the Ur Digitization Project Manager at Penn. Hafford and his team have affectionately dubbed the museum skeleton Noah because he was initially found resting in silt from a massive flood. Some believe this deluge formed the basis for the flood in the Biblical tale of Noah’s ark, hence the name. The bones were laid to rest in the silt after being washed from their original place of interment by the flood waters.

These old bones aren’t your typical skeleton in the closet. What do you think? Who is responsible for losing track of the museum skeleton for so long?

[Image by Penn Museum via UPI]