The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Museum announced on Tuesday that it had come across a 6,500-year-old human skeleton, believed to have been a man, who stood 5 feet, 9 inches. The skeleton was found from southern Iraq around 1930 by Sir Leonard Woolley, an archaeologist who run a joint expedition, with scientists from Penn Museum and British Museum. During their expedition in the parts of Southern Iraq, they dug up bodies and artifacts. In Ur, Woolley and his team found some 48 graves.
The skeleton which has been lying in museum storage for some 85 years was a missing document until the researchers have started to digitize the early excavation records from Ur, an ancient city near modern-day Nasiriyah.
While matching the objects with storage list, Project manager William Hafford came across a description of human skeleton that he could not find. When he discussed the matter with Janet Monge, chief curator of physical anthropology, Hafford came to know about an unlabeled, mystery skeleton.
“So we went, found the crate, opened it up and compared it to the field notes and the field photographs, and we had a match,” Hafford said.
Skeletons of the same period are extremely rare, the Penn researchers said. Archeologists wish after skeletal analysis more information about the population’s diet, lifestyle and ancestral origin will be surfaced.
The ancient skeleton was named ‘Noah’ by Dr. Hafford and his colleagues. According to Hafford, the skeleton is much older than the Bible.
“Utnapishtim might be more appropriate,” he added, “for he was named in the Gilgamesh epic as the man who survived the great flood,” he said.