PARIS (AFP).- France returned the skull of a New Caledonian rebel chief on Thursday, 135 years after it was cut off in a battle between the people of the South Pacific island and their French colonisers.
In a solemn ceremony in Paris, France’s Overseas Territories Minister George Pau-Langevin handed back the skull of the great Kanak rebel chief Atai to one of his descendants.
"I cannot tell you how emotional I am. I have waited for this moment for so many years. I had started to give up hope," said Berge Kawa, a direct descendant of the chief.
The story dates back to 1878, a quarter of a century after colonial power France had taken possession of the archipelago around 1,500 kilometres (900 miles) to the east of Australia. Read more.
Archaeologists in Norway have found what might be an 8,000-year-old skull, possibly containing brain matter, in a dig site in Stokke, southwest of Oslo. They say the find could help explain living conditions in the Stone Age.
The team has been digging at the Stokke site for two months and believe that the site consists of two separate Stone Age settlements. Among many other findings at the dig, the latest find is a human skull, which still appears to contain brain matter, and they hope that the find will tell them something about how it was to live in the Stone Age.
Experts are not yet sure whether the skull belongs to an animal or a child, According to Gaute Reitan, dig site leader, “It is too early to say. We need help from bone experts.” Read more.
Unlike most hunter-gatherer societies of the Bronze Age, the people of the Baikal region of modern Siberia (Russia) respected their dead with formal graves. These burial sites are a treasure trove for archaeologists and one particular specimen was so unique that bioarchaeologist Angela Lieverse traveled across the world just to bring it back to the Canadian Light Source synchrotron for examination.
"I’ve conducted research with the Baikal-Hokkaido Archaeology Project since the late nineties, and this specimen really intrigued me," said Lieverse, associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan. "I’ve known about this skull for about 10 years and there are a couple things about it that are fascinating."
The first, she said, is that this individual is missing the two front teeth on the lower jaw. And the second is that there is an obvious stone projectile tip embedded in the exact same spot of the mandible where the two incisors should be. Read more.
A miniature skull model that a German couple bought in an antique shop three decades ago could be a 500-year-old lost work of art created by the original Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, a new study claims. But some art historians are wary of the attribution.
About one-third the size of an adult human skull, the handcrafted cranium is missing a lower jaw and a cheekbone, but otherwise, the milky-white model is remarkable for its anatomical detail.
"It’s like looking at a car: If you open the hood of a car, you see the quality of the car," Stefaan Missinne, an independent Belgian researcher based in Vienna, told Live Science. Missinne thinks the skull has that kind of under-the-hood quality, clearly made by someone with an intimate knowledge of anatomy. Read more.
The Norwegian farmer says the 2,900-year-old skull was found by chance. There is no indication as to the cause of death for now.
“My father was operating a digging machine and I got down into the ditch. A small ball suddenly fell out of the loader bucket right in front of my feet,” Stange municipality-based farmer Halvor Stenberg tells NRK, Tuesday.
What he discovered turned out to be something unexpected. Picking it up, bits of skull started coming away in his hand.
Archaeologists believe that the skull belonged to a man close to 20 years of age. At the same time, how the victim died currently remains a mystery. Read more.
Fragments of medieval skulls and bones have been found during the restoration of a 12th Century building in Coventry.
The bones found in the Old Grammar School are believed to date back to some time between the 12th and 16th Centuries.
The excavation of the Grade I listed building is part of an £8.5m scheme to restore the building and extend the neighbouring Transport Museum.
Experts described the finds as “surprising”.
The year-long project, which began in March, will see the building restored for use as an exhibition, education and events space. Read more.
The skeleton of an ancient aristocratic woman whose head was warped into a deformed, pointy shape has been unearthed in a necropolis in France.
The necropolis, found in the Alsace region of France, contains 38 tombs that span more than 4,000 years, from the Stone Age to the Dark Ages.
The Obernai region where the remains were found contains a river and rich, fertile soil, which has attracted people for thousands of years, Philippe Lefranc, an archaeologist who excavated the Stone Age burials, wrote in an email.
Archaeologists first found the tombs in 2011 while doing a preliminary excavation of the area prior to the start of a big industrial building project. This year, Lefranc and his colleagues went back to do a more in-depth excavation. Read more.
A 1.8-million-year-old skull blends features of a number of early human species.
A newly discovered skull, some 1.8 million years old, has rekindled debate over the identity of humanity’s ancient ancestors. Uncovered at the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus in Georgia, “Skull 5” represents the most complete jaw and cranium from a turning point in early human history.
Researchers, led by Georgian National Museum anthropologist David Lordkipanidze, first found the complete lower jaw of a fossil human in 2000. The cranium turned up five years later, at the fossil-rich Dmanisi site 96 miles southwest of Tbilisi, and is now being reported in the journal Science.
"It was discovered on August 5, 2005—in fact, on my birthday," Lordkipanidze says. He adds that the fossil’s importance was clear as soon as the team saw it, but required eight years of preparatory analysis. Read more.