Early cavemen ‘ate human meat’
Scientists studying fossil bones found in a Spanish cave have suggested that early European cavemen ate human meat as part of their everyday diet. The conclusions were drawn after the site revealed the butchered remains of at least 11 human children, as well as evidence that the bones had been smashed to get to the nutritious marrow inside.
Staying on the subject of food, the remains of a huge 12,000-year-old Paleolithic funeral feast have been discovered in a cave in northern Israel. Tools and animal bones were discovered at the site, including over 70 tortoise skeletons, as well as 28 human bodies ranging from babies to a middle-aged woman.
In other archaeology news, a ship uncovered in the village of Salme on the Estonian island of Saaremaa is now thought to be a pre-Viking era battleground burial. The 16 skeletons found so far exhibit sword marks and arrowheads, indicating that a fierce struggle took place at the site.
Elsewhere, Yale University has announced that after 18 years of excavation, its archaeology team has unearthed a large industrial centre in the deserts of western Egypt, finding large piles of ash next to clay ovens buried in the sand, as well as an administrative building. The site, named Umm Mawagir, is over 3,500 years old.
Another story making the history headlines this week is the discovery of the ruins of two 5,000-year-old villages in Mongolia. The villages have been identified as possibly originating from Hongshan culture, a Neolithic culture in northeastern China; over 200 earthenware, stoneware and jadeware artefacts have been uncovered.
Meanwhile, as the English summer draws to a close, English Heritage has proclaimed 2010 a vintage year for archaeology after dry weather revealed hundreds of cropmark sites across the country, created when crops grow at a different rate over buried features. Among the discoveries this summer was a Roman camp near Bradford Abbas in Dorset – one of only four discovered in southwest England.
Footage from the recent expedition to the sunken wreck Titanic has revealed that the vessel is not as corroded as originally feared. A team of scientists has used two robots to capture thousands of pictures of the wreck, along with hours of video recordings.
And finally, staying underwater, thieves have stolen the torpedo hatch of the Holland 5, an important submarine wreck lying in the English Channel. The piece may have been stolen up to two years ago but its theft was only discovered during a recent licensed dive. The submarine sank six miles off Eastbourne in East Sussex in 1912 while being towed to Sheerness in Kent.