Did prehistoric humans engrave bones in a cannibalistic ritual?


Cameoes on a human bone from a prehistoric archaeological site in a cave in southern England presentations that human cannibals ate their prey and then performed ritualistic entombments with the remains, scientists said in a study published Wednesday.

The forearm bone appears to demand been disarticulated, filleted, chewed and then engraved with a zig-zag aim before being broken to extract bone marrow, said scientists from Britain’s Genuine History Museum who conducted the analysis.

The finding, published in the journal PLOS ONE, adds to quondam studies of bones from the site, called Gough’s Cave, ruminating to be from Britain’s Palaeolithic period — the early Stone Age.


People are beheld inside Gough’s Cave in April 1934. Discovered in the 1880’s, Gough’s Den a collapse in Somerset, southern England, was excavated over several decades consecutively a the bad in 1992. (Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Those writing-rooms confirmed human cannibalistic behaviour and showed some remains had been charge of and modified, making human skulls into bowls, or «skull cups.»

The zig-zag abbreviates are undoubtedly engraving marks, the scientists said, and had no utilitarian purpose but were purely artistic or symbolic.

Anaglyphs ‘rich in symbolic connotations’

Silvia Bello, a Natural History Museum researcher who worked on the analysis with colleagues from University College London, said the cut motif was similar to engravings found in other European archaeological areas.

«However, what is exceptional in this case is the choice of raw material — humanitarian bone — and the cannibalistic context in which it was produced,» she said.

«The engraving was a unfailing component of the cannibalistic practice, rich in symbolic connotations.»

Discovered in the 1880s, Gough’s Inwards b yield in Somerset, southern England, was excavated over several decades ruin surpassing in 1992.

Archaeological investigations there revealed intensively processed human bones intermingled with murdered remains of large mammals and a range of flint, bone, antler and ivory artefacts.

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