Police are continuing their efforts to unravel the mystery of how a human skull came to be in dense woodland at a Shropshire beauty spot.
The skull, thought to be that of a man who died around 50 years ago, was found by a dog with a shooting party at Sweeney Mountain, near Oswestry on the 2ndÂ November last year.
No other bones were found during extensive police searches of the area and pathologists have been unable to determine the cause of death or if the man was a victim of crime.
But scientific study of the remains has provided some clues.Â These were outlined by Detective Sergeant Allan Crossley during an inquest opened by the Shropshire coroner Mr John Ellery earlier this week.
The skull, which has the jaw missing but is otherwise complete, does not appear to have been buried.Â It seems to have been lying on the surface for a relatively short time before being found.
Police are now hoping someone will come forward with an explanation as they continue efforts to identify the man.
Although it has not been possible to guage physical details such as height or build, detailed forensic studies through anthropology, odontology, pathology, carbon-dating, DNA and botany, have provided some important information.
The skull is thought to be that of a fairly young man, the best estimate being in the 25-40 age group.Â Also, he is much more likely to be of Afro Caribbean ethnic origin than Caucasian, although Yemeni, Indian or Japanese origins are also possibilities.
Tests on the teeth and soil found in the bone cavities have revealed further clues.Â They suggest his diet was not typical of northern latitudes such as wheat, barley, and oats but more likely to be maize, sorghum or millet.
Plant debris from the skull does not appear to be from Britain or North West Europe but points to a sandy habitat, possibly from a Mediterranean or tropical country.
Detective Inspector Steve Tonks, the senior investigating officer, said: â€œWe know from DNA profile analysis he is not on missing personsâ€™ or other data bases.
â€œIt seems likely the skull was deposited where it was found relatively recently and a number of years following death.Â It also seems likely that the individual has lived and indeed died, outside of the UK.â€
DI Tonks said the investigation was continuing and further scientific tests were being carried out.
â€œHowever, we are appealing to anyone who can assist us by throwing light on the mystery behind this find.Â I would urge them to call Shrewsbury police station on 101 or contact the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 or its websiteÂ www.crimestoppers-uk.orgÂ .â€
A full inquest will take place in Shrewsbury on August 14.