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8 September 2004
Cheddar Man museum to open in 2005

The village of Cheddar in Somerset, south-west England, could soon be home to the world's first museum of cannibalism.
    The museum is being built at the former home of Richard Gough in Cliff Road, Cheddar Gorge, and it's exhibits will be based around Cheddar Man, Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, which was buried in Gough's Cave in the Gorge 9000 years ago. It was Gough who discovered Cheddar Man in 1903.
    The skeleton is currently being moved bone-by-bone into its new home, and will be displayed alongside a re-enactment of the ritual burial of Cheddar Man.
    The project is being undertaken by Cheddar Caves, and their marketing manager Bob Smart said: "Visitors will be able to see what it was like to live in the caves and what it was like to live as a cannibal. Cannibalism used to be the norm all over the world and it was a big chunk of human history."
    "Nowadays people try and pretend it never happened. We will be reminding people of the complete human history and attempt to explain the complex psychology of cannibalism. Sometimes people ask why are there no complete skeletons as old as the Cheddar Man. It's because the people were eaten and all the bones were broken down. Visitors will also be able do some cave painting and learn some Stone Age survival techniques."
    Gough's Cave is believed to have been home to cannibals during the Stone Age, who left broken bones and tools as clues to their lifestyle. DNA tests carried out in Cheddar village in 1997 revealed that Cheddar Man's ancestors still live there.

Source: Reuters (2 September 2004)

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