Found 2015 – separate evidence of a terrifying mystery that began thousands of years in the past.
This ancient puzzle consists of only one piece: a solitary human skull, discovered on its own with no skeletal remains around, lies inside a cave in Bologna, Italy, in the center of a cave. depression Call the locals Dolina from Hell (Hell pit).
It was not easy to find.
The well-hidden skull, which has lost its lower jaw bone, can only be reached by crossing a difficult cave passage called Idling from evil (Maze of Malice), then ascending a vertical column to a height of 12 meters (39 feet), as the skull rests on a rocky ledge.
Due to the difficulty of reaching the spot, speleologists were not able to recover the skull until 2017, at which time researchers had the opportunity to study this mysterious ancient specimen.
The single skull actually turned out to be ancient, with radiocarbon dating indicating that the skull belonged to an individual who lived sometime between 3630 and 3380 BC, placing it in an early archaeological context. stone Age (Aka the Chalcolithic period) in the region.
Other Neolithic human remains have been found in the public area; Not in the Hell Pit, but in a rock shelter 600 meters (nearly 2,000 feet) from the cave where the skull was found.
So, the larger context makes sense. But how exactly did this single skull get away from its Stone Age counterparts, as it was set high on the edge, yet buried inside the insidious labyrinth of a cave, and concealed 26 meters (85 feet) underground?
According to anthropologist Maria Giovanna Belcastro from the University of Bologna – the first author of A. New analysis The unusual fate of the skull – a number of factors played a role.
The Belcastro team investigated the skull, which the team most likely says came from a young woman, ages 24 to 35.
Evidence for various lesions on either side of the skull was likely caused by human manipulation of the skull at the time of the woman’s death, the researchers suggest, possibly reflecting ritual actions to remove flesh from the skull, as part of a funeral custom.
Other lesions on the skull, which some believe she contracted before death (before death), may be caused by an injury that killed the woman, and other signs could be evidence of some kind of medical treatment given by her people.
As for how the skull separated from the rest of its skeleton, researchers hypothesize that the skull may have been removed intentionally or accidentally from the rest of the body, before it was rolled over or pushed onto the ground by water or mud flush, until it somehow reached the edge of the stream of hell, and fell into The end is inside depression.
Over time, the seepage of water in the stream can dissolve the gypsum deposits inside the cave, creating the vertical shaft next to the skull’s safe resting place.
The revitalized cave corridor began to evolve downwards, with the formation of a sunken creek on the side and the carving of the maze below, Write in their paper.
“This new reactivation was able to anchor approximately 12 meters of gypsum, and attach it to the lower level of the base.”
The various sediments present within the cranial cavity provide some support for this argument, suggesting that the material was stuck inside the skull during the flow of water or debris, as the skull made its potentially chaotic journey into the cavern. Other signs of trauma to the skull indicate that there are many bumps along the journey.
This hypothetical interpretation isn’t necessarily what happened, of course, and it’s something we can’t really know for sure. But as the researchers point out, of all parts of the human skeleton, the shape of the skull makes it the most suitable for making an escape.
“If the skeleton was intact by the time of this sequence of events, other structural elements, different in shape and size, might have been stuck elsewhere and dispersed during transport,” The authors suggest.
“The skull would have rolled more easily than other structural parts in a stream and flow of debris … During its decomposition and those dynamic stages, it would have filled with sediments. So, it would have reached the cave and stopped at the plateau that was found.”
The results are reported in PLoS one.