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Prehistoric death ritual

Prehistoric death ritual

C011/0673

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Credit

KENNIS AND KENNIS / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNIS AND KENNIS / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Prehistoric death ritual. Artwork showing symbolic ritual behaviour by hominids at the Sima de los Huesos pit of bones, in the caves of the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain. It is thought that dead bodies (one at lower left) were deposited here. An Acheulean red quartzite axe (dubbed Excalibur) is being thrown into the pit. This axe, the only man-made item excavated at the site, had not been used, and was not made from local materials. The species found here was Homo heidelbergensis, an extinct hominid that forms a relatively recent part of the human evolutionary tree. The remains, found in the 1990s, date to around 400,000 years ago.

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