Archaeology news: Child with limbs removed in mystery ritual found in 8,000-year-old pit

3 min


By

The chilling discovery was made in Makpan Cave on Alor Island, which is one of the more than 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia. The remains have been dated to the early mid-Holocene period and could give researchers important insight into the burial practices of the times. Archaeologists believe the Alor remains belonged to a child aged between four and eight-years-old.

{%=o.title%}

Advertisements

]]>

What is unusual about this discovery, is the child had its legs and arms removed before burial.

According to lead researcher Dr Sofia Samper Carro of the Australian National University, certain clues suggest the remains were laid to rest during some form of ceremony.

She said: “Ochre pigment was applied to the cheeks and forehead and an ochre-coloured cobblestone was placed under the child’s head when they were buried.”

“Child burials are very rare and this complete burial is the only from this time period.

READ MORE: Archaeology news: Humans and Neanderthals were engaged in war

Archaeology news: Child with limbs removed in mystery ritual found in 8,000-year-old pit

Archaeology news: The dismembered remains were found in a cave in indonesia (Image: DR SHIMONA KEALY, ANU/DR SOFIA SAMPER CARRO, ANU)

Archaeology news: Child with limbs removed in mystery ritual found in 8,000-year-old pit

Archaeology news: The remains have been dated to the Holocene period 8,000 years ago (Image: MS TAHLIA STEWART, ANU)

“From 3,000 years ago to modern times, we start seeing more child burials and these are very well studied.

Advertisements

“But, with nothing from the early Holocene period, we just don’t know how people of this era treated their dead children. This find will change that.”

After the child’s limbs were removed they were disposed of in a separate location.

But according to Dr Samper Carro, this is not entirely without precedent and may have been part of a religious or cultural practice.

She said: “The lack of long bones is a practice that has been documented in several other burials from a similar time period in Java, Borneo and Flores, but this is the first time we have seen it in a child’s burial.

“We don’t know why long bone removal was practised, but it’s likely some aspect of the belief system of the people who lived at this time.”

And the exact age of the skeletal remains has added more fuel to the mystery.

Although the skeleton appears to have belonged to someone aged four to five-years-old, its teeth likely belonged to someone aged six to eight-years-old.

DON’T MISS…
Archaeology news: UK expert spies Santiago de Compostela stone selfie [INSIGHT]
‘Overwhelming’ evidence pinpoints where Ark of the Covenant stood [INTERVIEW]
Archaeology news: Certain civilisations FLOURISHED in climate change [REPORT]

Advertisements

Archaeology news: Child with limbs removed in mystery ritual found in 8,000-year-old pit

Archaeology news: Some of the greatest discoveries mapped out (Image: EXPRESS)

Archaeology news: Child with limbs removed in mystery ritual found in 8,000-year-old pit

Archaeology news: The child had its legs and arms removed berfore burial (Image: DR SOFIA SAMPER CARRO, ANU)

Dr Samper Carro said: “We want to do some further paleo-health research to find out if this smaller skeleton is related to diet or the environment or possibly to being genetically isolated on an island.

“My earlier work from Alor showed adult skulls were also small.

“These hunter-gatherers had a mainly marine diet and there is evidence to suggest protein saturation from a single food source can cause symptoms of mal-nourishment, which affects growth.

“However, they could have been eating other terrestrial resources such as tubers.

“By comparing other adult burials we have found from the same time period with this child burial in a future project, we hope to build a chronology and general view of burial practices in this region from between 12,000 to 7,000 years ago which at the moment is still scant.”

The findings were described in the journal Quaternary International.

Advertisements

The archaeologists wrote in their paper: “Our results suggest a delayed primary burial or a secondary treatment, where long bone diaphyses were removed prior to interment.

“The stratigraphical position of the remains indicates that the skeleton was not interred in anatomical position, which supports the hypothesis of secondary treatment of the remains.”


Like it? Share with your friends!

90
13 shares, 90 points

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
9
hate
confused confused
23
confused
fail fail
16
fail
fun fun
14
fun
geeky geeky
11
geeky
love love
4
love
lol lol
7
lol
omg omg
23
omg
win win
16
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format