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Incontrovertible evidence of cannibalism 15 kya

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Skull bowl/Trustees, Natural History Museum, London

Skulls used as bowls, the rest discarded.

From ScienceDaily:

Dr Silvia Bello, from the Natural History Museum’s Department of Earth Sciences, lead researcher of the work said, “The human remains have been the subject of several studies. In a previous analysis, we could determine that the cranial remains had been carefully modified to make skull-cups. During this research, however, we’ve identified a far greater degree of human modification than recorded in earlier. We’ve found undoubting evidence for defleshing, disarticulation, human chewing, crushing of spongy bone, and the cracking of bones to extract marrow.”

The presence of human tooth marks on many of the bones provides incontrovertible evidence for cannibalism, the team found. In a wider context, the treatment of the human corpses and the manufacture and use of skull-cups at Gough’s Cave has parallels with other ancient sites in central and western Europe. But the new evidence from Gough’s Cave suggests that cannibalism during the ‘Magdalenian period’ was part of a customary mortuary practice that combined intensive processing and consumption of the bodies with the ritual use of skull-cups.

Simon Parfitt, of University College London, said, “A recurring theme of this period is the remarkable rarity of burials and how commonly we find human remains mixed with occupation waste at many sites. More.

A key difficulty in interpretation is that we have no oral or documentary evidence, just wordless evidence, to interpret. Were the skulls fashioned into cups the remains of enemies? Ancestors? Tribal heroes?

Were the bones mixed with occupation waste the remains of low-status persons (who could be eaten and discarded)? Or were such bones generally thought by the culture to be of no particular significance because the power of the deceased person resided in the skull? Was keeping a person’s skull an act of veneration? Or watchfulness against revenge from beyond the grave?

All these motives are possible. I will shortly be writing at Evolution News & Views about ancient ways of thinking, some of which surprise us, as we discover them in the fragments of traditions today.

Cannibalism itself was probably not principally to satisfy hunger. Rather, from what we know of those who practised it in historical periods, the idea was that one could also acquire the qualities of the cannibalized person.

See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise

Note: Burial is not a self-evident idea. Funerary customs have varied widely. Predictably, today some new digitized customs are developing as well.

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Comments
While most science moves in a sort of curve, being constantly corrected by new evidence, this science flies off into space in a straight line uncorrected by anything. But the habit of forming conclusions, as they can really be formed in more fruitful fields, is so fixed in the scientific mind that it cannot resist talking like this. It talks about the idea suggested by one scrap of bone as if it were something like the aeroplane which is constructed at last out of whole scrapheaps of scraps of metal. The trouble with the professor of the prehistoric is that he cannot scrap his scrap. The marvellous and triumphant aeroplane is made out of a hundred mistakes. The student of origins can only make one mistake and stick to it. -- G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man
The "habilt of forming conclusions" even when they are no more likely to be true than many other conclusions that could be drawn from the same bones, and sticking to those conclusions, for some reason, seems to often favor those conclusions that might get more publicity than others.harry
April 23, 2015
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OT: Pearcey has a new excerpt from her book on ENV: Darwin's Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails - Nancy Pearcey - April 23, 2015 Excerpt: This is an amazing case of Orwellian doublethink. Minsky says people are "forced to maintain" the conviction of free will, even when their own worldview tells them that "it's false." When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine -- a "big bag of skin full of biomolecules" interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, "When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, ... see that they are machines." Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: "That is not how I treat them.... I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis." Certainly if what counts as "rational" is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis within Brooks's worldview. It sticks out of his box. How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn't. Brooks ends by saying, "I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs." He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/04/when_evolutiona095451.htmlbornagain77
April 23, 2015
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