I doubt you have something this old in your basement. The University of Pennsylvania found a 6,500-year-old skeleton in a closet in the basement of the Penn Museum. Well, that puts a whole new meaning on a ‘skeleton in your closet.’

The newly discovered bones belong to a 5’9” man who is estimated to have been around 50 years old.

The skeleton is being dubbed ‘Noah’ since the man likely lived after a great flood that would later be the basis of Noah’s biblical story.

How was the skeleton discovered? The Penn Museum has been digitizing old records over the summer and found records about the skeleton.

old skeleton

‘Noah’ was excavated at Ur, an ancient city near today’s Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, back in 1929-1930. Sir Leonard Woolley led a joint Penn Museum/British Museum team back then as they excavated 48 graves. The graves all dated to the Ubaid period. This culture was known for its large village settlements on the plains of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day Syria/Iraq.

The people in Ur are believed to have lived after a great flood washed away the land. After discovering the graves, Woolley and his team continued to dig further down. At 40 feet, his team found a layer water-lain silt. Below that Woolley found graves cut into the silt and then another silt layer. This “flood layer” of silt was more than 10 feet deep.

The Noah skeleton was found in one of the graves cut into the silt. This shows the man, plus other people around Ur, lived after the devastating flood.

The skeleton will be reexamined by archaeologists. Our technology is light years ahead of what Woolley had at his disposal in the early 1930s. Today’s technology and techniques could provide new information about “diet, ancestral origins, trauma, stress and diseases of this poorly understood population,” according to the Penn Museum.

While you’re at it, open some more boxes down there. Who knows what else you have buried in your own basement.


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