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An archeological dig on a small island in the English Channel uncovered a rather perplexing piece of the past buried in a 14th-century grave: the body of a porpoise.
The creature’s bones were discovered after researchers stumbled upon a well-crafted burial plot on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue, which was once a retreat for monks.
Assuming that the grave contained a human being, due to the nature of its construction, archeologists excavated the site and were stunned to find the remains of the marine animal which was apparently buried during medieval times.
The discovery has left experts scratching their heads as to why exactly the creature would have received such a strange send off.
Since porpoises sometimes served as food during the era in which it was buried, some have speculated that the remains were simply what was left after the monks had eaten the meat from the creature.
However, the archaeologists on site find this to be a dubious explanation as the animal’s body could have been easily dumped in the nearby sea rather than going through the effort to bury it in a grave.
Another possibility put forward by researchers is that a mischievous monk, perhaps forbidden from having the food, had hidden the porpoise in the grave so that he could later retrieve it, but somehow failed to do so.
Beyond those food-based ideas is that theory that the creature could have been buried as part of some kind of religious ritual, although even that hypothesis has been called into question by archaeologists as being somewhat of a stretch.
Nonetheless, the unexpected discovery is being celebrated by the researchers who found it, with one of the archeologists calling it the weirdest thing he’s found in over three decades of work in the field.
What’s your theory for why the porpoise was buried on the island? Let us know at the Coast to Coast AM Facebook page.
Source: The Guardian