Palaeolithic remains show cannibalistic habits of human ancestors

After Big Bang

Analysis of ancient cadavers recovered at a famous archaeological site confirm the existence of a sophisticated culture of butchering and carving human remains, according to a team of scientists.

Credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London Credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Gough’s Cave in Somerset was thought to have given up all its secrets when excavations ended in 1992, yet research on human bones from the site has continued in the decades since. After its discovery in the 1880s, the site was developed as a show cave and largely emptied of sediment, at times with minimal archaeological supervision. The excavations uncovered intensively-processed human bones intermingled with abundant butchered large mammal remains and a diverse range of flint, bone, antler, and ivory artefacts.

New radiocarbon techniques have revealed remains were deposited over a very short period of time, possibly during a series of seasonal occupations, about 14,700 years ago.

Dr Silvia Bello, from…

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