Devon

Human skulls discovered in carrier bags in Totnes

Two human skulls found by Police in Totnes. Image copyright Totnes Police/Facebook
Image caption Both skulls, which are thought to be up to 100 years old, were discovered separately

Human skulls believed to be up to 100 years old have been found in two carrier bags.

The first skull was discovered by workmen behind an empty shop on Fore Street in Totnes, Devon, at 12:15 BST on Monday.

A second skull, also in a carrier bag, was later found on the banks of the River Dart around half a mile away.

The discoveries are not being treated as a criminal investigation at present, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Dating of the skulls will now be conducted by the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification

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The discovery came after the "owner" of the first skull "appeared" and told them there was another nearby in an area frequented by homeless people, the force added.

Officers said the skulls were then examined and it was established one was male and the other female, with "both persons over 21 years old when they died".

"The female skull was better preserved than the male having traces of hair present, indicating that it was kept in a crypt type environment."

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Initial analysis by Devon and Cornwall Police suggested the skulls were more than 100 years old

Specialist officers examined the two skulls and dated them at more than 100 years old, although they said a more accurate date would be provided after further forensic analysis.

The skulls will now be sent to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee.

Police said the centre will then attempt to calculate the length of time since death, which may require radiocarbon dating.

The discoveries are not currently being treated as a criminal investigation, but Totnes Police's Criminal Investigation Department is making further enquiries.

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