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23 January 2021
Scientists solve 5,000-year-old murder

A fractured skull was found during an excavation at the archaeological site of Cova Foradada in northeastern Spain in 1999. The man was killed 5,000 years ago, but the cause of his death has only now been established.
     Miguel Angel Moreno-Ibanez, main researcher at the Catalan Institute of Human Palaeo-ecology and Social Evolution (IPHES), says the skull came from a Neolithic collective burial in the cave with around 18 individual remains. The man - said to have been in his 50s - died at a time when our ancestors were forming into small communities and increasingly warring among themselves. Researchers have identified a dramatic increase in the number of killings in this period, based on injuries people suffered.
     The man received a blow to the right parietal area of the skull (above and behind the right ear) which shows no evidence of having healed. Experts believe a heavy object was the cause of death. "It was like a small-sized hoe, very common in the Neolithic period that was used as a weapon."
     The skull also has two antemortem fractures that were healed - in the occipital (rear) and the right side, both from years before the man's death - and a post-mortem fracture in the lower occipital area.

Edited from Yahoo! News, The Tennessee Tribune (27 December 2020)

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