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Archaeologists unearth 430,000-year-old murder case

Thu, May 28, 2015, 02:20 PM
London, May 28, 2015: Lethal wounds identified on a 430,000-year-old human skull in Sima de los Huesos, Spain, may indicate one of the first cases of murder in human history, say researchers.

A nearly complete skull, Cranium 17 from Sima de los Huesos, is comprised of 52 cranial fragments recovered during excavations at the site over the last 20 years.
This skull shows two penetrating lesions on the frontal bone, above the left eye.

Relying on modern forensic techniques, such as contour and trajectory analysis of the traumas, Nohemi Sala from Centro Mixto UCM-ISCIII de EvoluciAn Comportamiento Humanos, Spain, and colleagues showed that both fractures were likely produced by two separate impacts by the same object, with slightly different trajectories around the time of the individual's death.

According to the authors, the injuries are unlikely to be the result of an accidental fall down the vertical shaft.

Rather, the type of fractures, their location, and that they appear to have been produced by two blows with the same object lead the authors to interpret them as the result of an act of lethal interpersonal aggression -- or what may constitute the earliest case of murder in human history.

The archeological site, Sima de los Huesos in northern Spain, is located deep within an underground cave system and contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals that date to around 430,000 years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene.

The only access to the site is through a 13-meter deep vertical shaft, and how the human bodies arrived there remains a mystery.
Agency: IANS

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