When a violent storm knocked over a 215-year-old beech tree outside Collooney, Ireland, it revealed a grisly secret: a nearly 1000-year-old skeleton. Locals discovered the upper half of the remains tangled in the roots of the fallen tree, with the lower portion still embedded in the dirt.

The National Monuments Service commissioned Sligo-Leitrim Archaeological Services (SLAS) to excavate the skeleton. A preliminary analysis indicated that the bones had belonged to a young man between 17 and 25 years of age who had sustained several injuries, which may have been inflicted by a sword or knife. Radiocarbon dating showed the remains to be between 815 and 985 years old.

At this point, it’s unknown whether the victim’s violent death was the result of battle or a private conflict. The archaeologists at SLAS will continue to investigate the excavation site and the remains for clues behind their mysterious origin.

[h/t: io9]