EXCEPTIONAL and to date, found nowhere else. These were the words used to describe a find of human remains, estimated as being 3'000 years-old, found in caves on Minorca. Victor Guerrero, professor of European pre-history at the Balearic University, confirmed that the bodies still retained intact parts of internal organs and hair. In the coming weeks, the archaeological discovery made in the Cova des Pas will turn Minorca into the centre of attention of the international scientific community. The excellent state of preservation of the corpses provides a unique opportunity for study of social behaviour of the Island's inhabitants 2'000 years BC. A group of scientists who had performed an initial survey of the site, gave their draft conclusions following an examination of the remains of 21 people, although it was believed that there may be as many as 50 bodies in the one location. Josep Maia Fullola, head of the Pre-history department at the University of Barcelona, said that the first class state of preservation of the remains may be due to the fact that the entrance to the caves was almost completely shut off and this may have produced a special micro-climate which aided and abetted conservation.
The greatest part of the discovery was when the find was made last spring. As well as human hair still being in place, soft body parts, which under normal circumstances would perish before the skeleton, were also in evidence. Muscle tissue for example, had undergone a kind of natural mummification process. Scientists will subject these soft parts to DNA testing which will enable them to gauge a better understanding of what the ancient society ate and what rituals it underwent.