Experts found traces of conifer resins on ancient skulls at Le Cailar iron age site in France, supporting texts saying heads were embalmed. (Photograph: Handout)

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Gauls Did Embalm Severed Heads of Enemies, Research Confirms

Experts found evidence to support the idea that heads were embalmed with cedar oil.

The Gauls were fierce warriors who cut off the heads of their enemies and put them on display for all to see. They even hung them around their horses’ necks as they rode home. But now, research has confirmed that the Gauls did not only cut their foes’ heads off, but they appear to have embalmed them as well.

Experts say they found traces of conifer resins on the remains of skulls discovered at the iron age settlement of Le Cailar in the south of France. This backs up ancient reports that the Celtic Gauls preserved their conquests.

“In fact the ancient texts told about us the head [being] embalmed with cedar oil … thanks to our chemical analysis we know that this information is right,” said Réjane Roure, co-author of the study from Paul Valéry University of Montpellier, according to The Guardian.

Roure said the reason behind the embalmment might have been to make sure the face and features of the enemy remained on display.

“The ancient texts said only the most powerful enemies and the most important enemies were embalmed – maybe that was to be able to say ‘see that face, it was some big warrior’,” she said, according to The Guardian. 

Read the full story at The Guardian