In “Early human fossils unearthed in Ukraine” (BBC News , 20 June 2011), Jennifer Carpenter tells us,
Ancient remains uncovered in Ukraine represent some of the oldest evidence of modern people in Europe, experts have claimed.Archaeologists found human bones and teeth, tools, ivory ornaments and animal remains at the Buran-Kaya cave site.
The 32,000-year-old fossils bear cut marks suggesting they were defleshed as part of a post-mortem ritual.
Done, probably, so that the skeleton could remain as a memorial. Neanderthal peoples used red ochre in burials (signifying continued life?).
Remains at the site bear cut marks where stone tools were used to remove flesh.
But the human remains consisted of vertebrae, teeth and skull bones no larger than 12cm.
What is more, the positions of cut marks found on the human fragments were distinct from those found on the animal bones.
And while the bone marrow had been removed from butchered animals, it had been left alone in the case of the human remains at the site, explained co-author Sandrine Prat from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris.