Eerie medieval grave of 'Six-Headed Chief' buried with half a dozen Scottish skulls baffles archaeologists

A SPOOKY medieval grave featuring a "Six-Headed Chief" is becoming less of a mystery thanks to new DNA analysis.

The "Six-Headed Chief" burial was unearthed by baffled archaeologists in Scotland.

It was first thought to feature one male skeleton with five other skulls around his head as well as other bones in the grave.

However, a closer look revealed two men buried in the same grave with four disembodied heads around them.

New research suggests everyone in the grave belonged to the same family.

The eerie grave was actually discovered back in 1997 in the church of a Scottish fishing village called Portmahomack.

It's thought the two male skeletons were either an uncle and a nephew or cousins that were buried sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries.

The skulls of the grandfather, mother and father of one of the males were also in the grave and what is potentially the son of one the men was buried nearby.

Another skull in the grave is thought to have belonged to a Pictish monk who died a few centuries earlier but had been dug up from a different cemetery.

It's thought the monk's skull was a prized family relic.

Disembodied skulls in a grave is considered unusual for the time period they date back to.

Archaeologist Cecily Spall of FAS Heritage told Live Science: "You can find examples in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age where body parts were used for worship, but this is something completely different.

"In the medieval period, harvesting the graves of your parents and grandparents for body parts and putting them into a contemporary burial is about as unusual as it gets."

One of the men in the grave died by extreme violence as there's evidence of half of his face being cut away with a brutal blow of a sharp object.

The full male skeletons likely belonged to very important people when they were alive as not everyone gets to be buried inside a church and near the altar.

The church was burnt down during a fire in the 1480s when two Highland clans fought each other.

It was then rebuilt and now it's used to display archaeological artefacts.

There's a theory that the first man buried in the grave was an important local leader who died violently.

Then other members of his family may have been added years later, perhaps to highlight succession of leadership.

The world’s most gruesome ancient burials

Here’s some of the most haunting archaeological discoveries ever made…

  • Shackled skeletons: A mass grave in an ancient Greek cemetery was found to contain 80 skeletons all with their wrists clamped in iron shackles; archaeologists think they were victims of a mass execution but why this happened remains a mystery
  • Mass child sacrifice: The remains of nearly 270 children sacrificed to the gods 500 years ago were recently found in a gruesome ancient mass grave in Peru
  • Family massacre: Archaeologists recently discovered that a 5,000 year old mass grave site was the result of a tragic family massacre; the burial site in Poland contains the bodies of men, women and children who all had their skulls smashed to pieces
  • Bog bodies: In 1950, experts found a bog body with a "face so fresh they could only suppose they had stumbled on a recent murder." The corpse, referred to as the Tollund man, is probably the most well-preserved body from pre-historic times in the whole world

In other news, sacrificed llama mummies have been dug up in Peru and they're almost perfectly preserved after 500 years.

A Viking temple dedicated to Old Norse gods like Thor has been unearthed by archaeologists.

And, a sunken ship has been found in almost perfect condition despite spending 400 years underwater.

What do you make of the medieval grave discovery? Let us know in the comments…

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