Jan 22, 2010

Doubts concerning Neolithic cannibalism

In my previous post I blogged about evidence of mass cannibalism in central Europe (southern Germany to be more precise). Now though scientists point out to other possible explanations of the butchered bones found in Herxheim.

(inhabitants of modern Herxheim are probably NOT cannibals:)

source: flickr

From ScienceNews' article:

Two archaeologists who have studied human bones unearthed a decade ago at Herxheim reject the new cannibalism hypothesis. In a joint statement to Science News, Jörg Orschiedt of the University of Leipzig in Germany and Miriam Haidle of Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt say that Boulestin’s evidence better fits a scenario in which the dead were reburied at Herxheim following dismemberment and removal of flesh from bones. Evidence of ceremonial reburial practices has been reported for many ancient societies.

If further work confirms large-scale cannibalism at Herxheim, “this would be very surprising indeed, simply in terms of the scale involved,” remarks archaeologist Rick Schulting of the University of Oxford in England.

More about the controversy: here

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