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The strong storms that have hit the Orkney islands (Northern Scotland) in recent months have put at risk a ancient Pictish and Viking graveyard almost 1,500 years old, publishes Live Science.
The strong surf and winds have eroded the sandstone cliff of Newark Bay on which the pantheon stands, leaving the graves vulnerableSo a group of volunteers are stacking sacks of clay and sand to protect the ancient bones and limit the damage.
The oldest burials found in this archaeological site, dated to the 6th centuryThey belong to the Picts, an ancient confederation of tribes that are considered to be the first settlers of those territories. In addition, it is possible to find remains of Vikings that inhabited the archipelago between the 9th and 15th centuries.
The first excavations of the newark cemetery They were made in the 1960s and 1970s by British archaeologist Don Brothwell, when about 250 skeletons were recovered for analysis. However, it is not certain how many more may remain underground.
Due to the historical significance of the site, the government agency Historic Environment of Scotland (HES) is funding a major three-year study to further examine human remains, conduct DNA analysis, as well as other work to determine as much as possible about the people buried there.
The results of these investigations could shed light on several previously misunderstood questions, such as the factors that allowed the Vikings to settle in that area, or the relationship between the two groups.