Archaeologists excavating Ohio Hopewell mounds occasionally come across the remains of people who had been buried with separate human skulls. Hopewell artisans also sculpted representations of decapitated heads and headless human torsos.
Does this mean Ohio’s ancient American Indians were headhunters?
Mark Seeman, professor emeritus at Kent State University, says that these decapitated heads were battle trophies. But Timothy Lloyd, an archaeologist at the University of Albany, points out that some of the bodies and skulls belonged to women, who seldom were warriors in indigenous societies. Read more.
A trove of skulls and other body parts unearthed in the heart of London may have once belonged to Roman gladiators, war captives or criminals, a new study suggests.
The remains, described in the January issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, belonged to about 40 men, mostly ages 25 to 35, and were marred by violence: cheek fractures, blunt-force trauma to the head, decapitation and injuries from sharp weapons, said study co-author Rebecca Redfern, a curator and bioarchaeologist at the Museum of London. Read more.
HONOLULU (AP) — The skulls of a Native Hawaiian man and woman are being returned to their home state after being in Texas for more than 50 years.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says the remains were taken by a U.S. Air Force airman after being found near or on a beach between 1940 and 1960.
The skulls are in the possession of the University of Texas at San Antonio. They are, however, expected to be sent to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for reburial on Oahu.
UTSA archaeologist Cynthia Munoz says the airman apparently took the skulls to his home in San Antonio.
After the man died, the remains were found in a box in the garage by the man’s son, who donated them to the university’s Center for Archaeological Research last year. (source)
Archaeologists in China have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, state media reported on Monday.
The skulls were found in what appears to have been a mass grave at the Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in the northern province of Shaanxi.
The women’s bodies were not present, the official news agency Xinhua said, adding that archaeologists concluded that the skulls were “likely to be related china to the construction of the city wall” in “ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies” before construction began. Read more.
Archaeologists working with London’s Crossrail project have uncovered 20 skulls believed to be from the Roman period.
It is likely the bones were washed from a nearby burial site along one of London’s “lost” rivers - the Walbrook.
In the last year archaeologists in London have also found about 10,000 Roman items at a nearby site.
These latest finds could give new insights into the lives of Roman people.
Near-intact pottery artefacts were also found which probably travelled along the same route as the skulls. Other bone fragments would not have been washed as easily down the river. Read more.
Three sets of old human remains have been found inside Londonderry’s historic walls.
The remains were unearthed at an archaeological dig at Bishop Street car park, near St Augustine’s cemetery on Friday.
The remains may have been there since the 17th Century, according to researchers.
Archaeologist Emily Murray said: “Below bulks of mud, I came across skulls.”
She added: “You can actually see the seams in the cranium.
"The big question is who the people are and how they died. Read more.
A new analysis of the skulls of prehistoric peoples in Mexico reveals significant regional variation in the facial characteristics of indigenous populations – indicating that there were notable physical differences between geographically separate groups before the arrival of Europeans.
"There has long been a school of thought that there was little physical variation prior to European contact," says Ann Ross, a forensic anthropologist at NC State who co-authored a paper on the work. "But we’ve found that there were clear differences between indigenous peoples before Europeans or Africans arrived in what is now Mexico." Read more.
Stone Age farmers lived through routine violence, and women weren’t spared from its toll, a new study finds.
The analysis discovered that up to 1 in 6 skulls exhumed in Scandinavia from the late Stone Age — between about 6,000 and 3,700 years ago — had nasty head injuries. And contrary to findings from mass gravesites of the period, women were equally likely to be victims of deadly blows, according to the study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Linda Fibiger, an archaeologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and her colleagues focused on the late Stone Age, when European hunter-gatherers had transitioned into farming or herding animals. Read more.