Scientists believe that the man's remains were transported from Austria to Scandinavia (Photo : Flickr-La.Catholique)
A textile which was wrapped around an ancient urn in Denmark, previously thought to be cultivated flax, was recently re-examined by scientists and verified as imported wild nettles.
This new development suggests that the man may have died overseas from his Scandinavian home, after which his body was returned to his native land. The fabric itself originates from 940 B.C. to 750 B.C. according to research.
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Archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen Ulla Mannering notes that "The personal objects that were placed in inside the urn together with his textile and the bones indicate that he is a male of Scandinavian origin, but it doesn't mean that he couldn't have died abroad."
Mannerling explains why the fabric stood out as unusual to the research team: "Since the Stone Age, [Europe] had very well-developed agriculture and technology for producing linen textiles. So it's really unusual that a society which has established agriculture would also take in material from things that are not of the normal standardized agricultural production".
After re-analyzing the fabric, Mannerling and her team found that the wild nettle was foreign to Scandinavia. The urn itself originates from Austria, which is a region that produces wild nettle.
Mannerling describes the fabric, saying that "the fibers we get from the European nettle are very, very fine and soft and shiny, and we often say this is sort of prehistoric silk textile."
She adds, "It shows that they also knew how to get fibers from wild plants, and they wanted these fibers probably because of their very different and unique appearance."
The study was originally published in the journal Scientific Reports.