A 1,000-year-old skeleton was discovered dangling from the roots of a beech tree in the Irish town of Collooney, after a strong storm ripped the 200-year-old tree from the ground earlier this year.

The remains belonged to a young man, and markings on the skeleton suggest that he died a violent death inflicted by a sharp blade. But it's not year clear whether this was a battle wound or something more sinister. 

The skeleton itself was revealed in what we can only imagine was a pretty gruelling manner - with the top half of the skeleton raised into the air tangled up in the trees roots, while the bottom half remained in the ground.

archaeology-sligo1Thorsten Kahlert via Irish Archaeology

A preliminary analysis of the remains suggests that the man was aged between 17 and 25 when he died, and his bones contained injuries inflicted by a sharp blade.

"The body was subsequently buried in a shallow east-west oriented grave and radiocarbon analysis indicates that this occurred sometime between 1030 and 1200 AD," reports Irish Archaeology.

Researchers are now continuing to study the surrounding site to work out whether the body was hidden under the tree - which could suggest murder - or whether it was part of a standard burial site. 

"No other burials are known from the area but historical records do indicate a possible graveyard and church in the vicinity," said archaeologist Marion Dowd from the Institute of Technology Sligo in Ireland.