Caves served as websites for burial and later modification of human stays for hundreds of years within the Iberian Peninsula, in keeping with a examine revealed within the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Zita Laffranchi and Marco Milella of the College of Bern, Switzerland, and Rafael Martinez Sanchez, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain, and colleagues.
The usage of caves as burial websites is a cultural phenomenon with a broad distribution in each area and time. Within the southern Iberian Peninsula, this observe grew to become significantly widespread beginning across the 4th millennium BCE. Additionally widespread within the archaeological websites of this area is proof of manipulation of buried human stays, though the cultural that means behind that is largely unclear. On this examine, researchers study altered human stays from a cave, Cueva de los Marmoles, in southern Spain.
The researchers assessed quite a few skeletal stays belonging to no less than 12 people. Radiocarbon relationship recognized burials relationship from the fifth to the 2nd millennium BCE. The crew additionally documented intentional autopsy modifications to the bones, together with fractures and scrapes which may have resulted from efforts to extract marrow and different tissues. Included amongst these stays had been one tibia that seems to have been modified to be used as a software, and one skull “cranium cup” which may have equally been modified for some dietary or sensible use.
These outcomes are according to different cave websites within the southern Iberian Peninsula, representing a widespread observe of buried human stays being later modified and utilized for meals and instruments. The authors recommend there may be additional symbolic functions of those modifications which could develop into extra clear with additional examine.
The authors add: “Neolithic human stays from Marmoles Cave recommend complicated funerary behaviors in Andalusia throughout Prehistory.