Neolithic Finds

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Archaeology shock: ‘Extraordinary’ passage below Scottish Stone Age monument revealed

Source: Daily Express
Date: 6 February, 2020

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were stunned by an "absolutely extraordinary" passageway discovered below a Scottish monument dating back as far as 12,000 years.

The discovery was made on Mainland Orkney, in a site known as the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney”. The group of monuments, which were proclaimed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1999, include Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. But, to the east lies a fourth spot, known as Maeshowe, a Stone Ages burial monument built around 2,800BC which holds significant importance to understanding the role the afterlife played for ancient Britons.

https://www-express-co-uk.cdn.amppr...3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s
 

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This newly published research indicates the Neolithic transition to settled agrarian life and accompanying sociocultural innovations in New Guinea was a localized process independent of similar transitions occurring elsewhere in Asia.

Prehistoric artifacts suggest a neolithic era independently developed in New Guinea
Emergence of a Neolithic in highland New Guinea by 5,000 to 4,000 years ago

New artifacts uncovered at the Waim archaeological site in the highlands of New Guinea - including a fragment of the earliest symbolic stone carving in Oceania - illustrate a shift in human behavior between 5050 and 4200 years ago in response to the widespread emergence of agriculture, ushering in a regional Neolithic Era similar to the Neolithic in Eurasia. The location and pattern of the artifacts at the site suggest a fixed domestic space and symbolic cultural practices, hinting that the region began to independently develop hallmarks of the Neolithic about 1000 years before Lapita farmers from Southeast Asia arrived in New Guinea. While scientists have known that wetland agriculture originated in the New Guinea highlands between 8000 and 4000 years ago, there has been little evidence for corresponding social changes like those that occurred in other parts of the world. To better understand what life was like in this region as agriculture spread, Ben Shaw et al. excavated and examined a trove of artifacts from the recently identified Waim archaeological site. "What is truly exciting is that this was the first time these artifacts have been found in the ground, which has now allowed us to determine their age with radiocarbon dating," Shaw said. The researchers analyzed a stone carving fragment depicting the brow ridge of a human or animal face, a complete stone carving of a human head with a bird perched on top (recovered by Waim residents), and two ground stone pestle fragments with traces of yam, fruit and nut starches on their surfaces. They also identified an obsidian core that provides the first evidence for long-distance, off-shore obsidian trade, as well as postholes where house posts may have once stood.
SOURCE: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/aaft-pas032420.php

FULL RESEARCH ARTICLE:
https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/13/eaay4573
 

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Excavations at a Neolithic site in Israel have uncovered the oldest evidence to date of funerary cremation. Additional comments about the implications of this find can be found in the full story (link below).
Humans have been cremating the dead since at least 7,000 B.C.

Cremation is a truly ancient practice, with a study published this week in the journal PLOS One showing that humans have been turning the dead to ashes for at least 9,000 years.

An international team of researchers led by Fanny Bocquentin, an archaeologist and anthropologist with the French National Center for Scientific Research, uncovered evidence of direct cremation at a Neolithic dig site in Beisamoun, Israel. ...

"We realized during the excavation that this was indeed a cremation pyre pit," she said.

The team of scientists used an advanced imaging technique, infrared spectrometry, to determine the composition of the pit and identify the combustion temperature.

The excavation revealed 355 bone fragments. According to the spectral analysis, temperatures in the pyre pit reached 700 degrees Celsius. The size and condition of the bone fragments suggest the remains belonged a young adult who was injured by a flint projectile several months before their death. ...

The positioning of the bones suggest the body was positioned in a sitting position and remained so throughout the cremation process. ...

For now, Beisamoun is unique, but researchers have previously found evidence of bone-drying, the step taken prior to cremation, at another site in Jordan. Researchers have also unearthed similar pyre pits dated to 6,500 B.C. at a Syrian dig site. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/20...he-dead-since-at-least-7000-BC/4681597257648/
 

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Here are the bibliographic details and link to the full research report about the Neolithic cremation discovery.

Emergence of corpse cremation during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of the Southern Levant: A multidisciplinary study of a pyre-pit burial
Fanny Bocquentin , Marie Anton, Francesco Berna, Arlene Rosen, Hamoudi Khalaily, Harris Greenberg, Thomas C. Hart, Omri Lernau, Liora Kolska Horwitz

Published: August 12, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0235386

FULL REPORT: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0235386
 

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Excavations at a Neolithic site in Israel have uncovered the oldest evidence to date of funerary cremation. Additional comments about the implications of this find can be found in the full story (link below).


FULL STORY: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/20...he-dead-since-at-least-7000-BC/4681597257648/
There has been found in Australia, ritually burnt, crushed, ochred and buried bones from about 42,000 years ago.

Here's a bit from our National Museum about the finds...


https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/mungo-lady
 

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I was wondering how they knew it was remains of a woman as it says that she was cremated, the bones crushed and burned?
When my husband was cremated the remains were like grit that we took turns to tip out.
 

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I was wondering how they knew it was remains of a woman as it says that she was cremated, the bones crushed and burned?
When my husband was cremated the remains were like grit that we took turns to tip out.
ln modern cremation, the bone fragments remaining after the fire are ground in a large “blender” known as a cremulator. Obviously these weren’t available thousands of years ago, nor were our ancestors capable of producing the sustained high temperatures found in crematoria.

All an archaeologist would have to find would be enough of the pelvis, for example, to enable a determination of the sex of the remains.

maximus otter
 

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Thank you for clearing that up maximus.
 

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New findings at the Dehesilla Cave in Spain are suggestive of funerary ritual and / or possible human sacrifice. A skull among these discoveries shows signs of incomplete trepanation that was not a cause of death.
Failed brain surgery and possible human sacrifice revealed in Stone Age burial

A Stone Age skull found in a Spanish cave bears the marks of a failed brain surgery and postmortem decapitation.

The skull, which may have belonged to an adult woman, dates back to approximately 4800 B.C. to 4550 B.C. Archaeologists found the skull deep inside Dehesilla Cave on the Iberian peninsula, alongside a second adult skull — perhaps from a man — and the remains of a young goat, they reported Aug. 13 in the journal PLOS ONE.

The morbid and unusual discovery raises the possibility that the bones were brought to the cave for some sort of religious ritual, study author Daniel García-Rivero, an archaeologist at the University of Seville in Spain, wrote in the paper. One or both of the individuals may have even been victims of human sacrifice. ...

... a 2017 excavation revealed two jawless skulls, buried alongside stone tools, bits of pottery and most of the skeleton of a sheep or goat that was likely less than 10 days old at death. The cave also contained a stone altar and an ash-rich circle, apparently the remains of a 7,000-year-old fire. ...

On the upper left side of the possibly-female skull, archaeologists found something strange: a depression or divot, about 0.7 inches (19 millimeters) wide showing signs of later bone growth and healing. There were no cracks radiating from this divot, leading the researchers to conclude that the woman had been the subject of a Stone Age brain surgery called trepanation. ...

The scene in the cave suggests some sort of ritual, perhaps even a sacrificial ritual, the researchers wrote. The ancient people likely killed the goat for the ritual, but it's not clear whether they also sacrificed the two humans. They may have died naturally, or one may have died naturally and the other may have been a human sacrifice laid to rest with them. Or both may have been deliberately killed. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/stone-age-skull-trepanation-brain-surgery.html

The full published research report is accessible at:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236961
 

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A lone skull discovered in an Italian cave provides evidence for ritual dismemberment as a Neolithic interment practice.
Decapitated Stone Age woman's head rolled into a cave in Italy
By Laura Geggel

How did a lone skull end up in a steep cave?

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 ...

But, after determining which of the skull's lesions were likely caused by humans and which were likely incurred as the skull tumbled against various rocks, the researchers came up with a possible scenario. Once this woman died, people in her community likely dismembered her corpse — a funeral practice performed at other burials from this time period and region. After people separated the woman's skull from the rest of her body, environmental forces swept it away into the cave, the researchers suggested. ...

Archaeologists discovered the lone skull in 2015 in northern Italy's Marcel Loubens cave. Caves are common sites for ancient burials, but archaeologists couldn't find any other human remains there ...

A CT (computed tomography) scan and analysis of the skull itself revealed that the woman was between the ages of 24 and 35 when she died, while radiocarbon dating indicated that she lived between 3630 and 3380 B.C., during the New Stone Age, or Neolithic period. To put that into perspective, this woman lived just before Ötzi the Iceman, whose mummified remains date to 3300 B.C. and were also found in northern Italy. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/rollaway-neolithic-skull.html
 

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Prehistoric human bones in Guernsey discovered by coastal walker

An archaeologist estimated the remains were between 4,000 and 5,000 years old from the pottery and flint found alongside them near L'Ancresse.

Phil de Jersey said they were waiting for results from radiocarbon dating analysis to get a precise age.

Dr de Jersey said the bones were likely to be from a Neolithic burial site and were in an "odd arrangement".

Dr de Jersey added it was "hard to say" why the specific location was chosen but he expects a prehistoric tomb, known as a dolmen, was associated with the area.

"The question is whether it is out to sea, totally washed away, or whether it might actually be back further back in land under the sand covering the headland."
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News update on the 'knobbly orbs' ... Here's another overview article about the orbs / balls. The news is that 3D renderings of the objects are now available online.



FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/62843-enigmatic-stone-balls-scotland.html

3D MODELS: https://sketchfab.com/hugoandersonwhymark/collections/carved-stone-balls-and-sculpted-stones
Just an Idea about these carved stone balls...
Suggestions: They might possibly be used for a stone age game of skill!
Imagine a clay wall, or a flat clay circle on the ground at a distance. Each contestant takes a shot at the target and the imprint of his/her particular stone ball marks the nearest one on the target?
Either that, or each one could be a calling card mark to let others know where they are?
In short, some kind of personal ID maybe dropped into a cup mark hole to say "I'm here!"
 
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