Following her death about 5,600 years ago, a Stone Age woman’s skull took an unexpected journey when mud and water washed it away from her burial site and into the craggy rocks of a steep cave in what is now Italy, a new study finds.

When archaeologists found the skull, its resting spot in the cave shaft was so hard to reach that only one archaeologist, using rock climbing equipment, could squeeze into the space to recover it. During a later analysis, the researchers found that the skull was very scratched up; at first, they couldn’t make heads or tails of what had happened to the ancient woman.