Nav: Home

In Turkey, carved skulls provide the first evidence of a neolithic 'skull cult'

June 28, 2017

In Turkey, Carved Skulls Provide the First Evidence of a Neolithic "Skull Cult": Three carved skull fragments uncovered at a Neolithic dig site in Turkey feature modifications not seen before among human remains of the time, researchers say. Thus, these modified skull fragments could point to a new "skull cult" -- or ritual group -- from the Neolithic period. Throughout history, people have valued skulls for different reasons, from ancestor worship to the belief that human skulls transmit protective properties. This focus on the skull has led to the establishment of the term skull cult in anthropology, and various such cults -- each with characteristic modifications to skull bones -- have been catalogued. Recently, Julia Gresky and colleagues observed a previously unknown type of modification in three partial skulls uncovered at Göbekli Tepe. Each skull had intentional deep incisions along its sagittal axes and one of those skulls also displayed a drilled hole in the left parietal bone, as well as red ochre remnants, the authors say. By using different microscopic techniques to analyze the fragments, Gresky et al. verified that the carvings were executed using lithic tools, thus ruling out natural causes, like animal gnawing. In addition, they were able to discount scalping as a source of the marks, due to the depth of the carvings; however, other minor cut-marks on the skulls show signs of possible defleshing, they say. More likely, the skulls were carved to venerate ancestors not long after their death, say the authors, or, to put recently "dispatched" enemies on display. These findings present the very first evidence for treatment of the dead at Göbekli Tepe.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Human Remains Articles:

Osteosarcoma profiling reveals why immunotherapy remains ineffective
Comprehensive profiling of tumor samples taken from patients with osteosarcoma shows that multiple factors contribute to the traditionally poor responses observed from treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Genetic identification of human remains from the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship
The BIOMICs Research Team at the UPV/EHU have published the results of analyses which have enabled the genetic identification of 525 human remains recovered from different mass graves dating from the Spanish Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship.
Stevia remains the most discussed low/zero-calorie sweetener
The International Stevia Council recently unveiled data from its 2019 Online Conversation & Trends Analysis to identify and better understand the attitudes and perceptions around the sweetener stevia in English- and Spanish-speaking countries.
The fossilization process of the dinosaur remains
A piece of work conducted between the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country and the University of Zaragoza has conducted an in-depth analysis of the dinosaur fossils at La Cantalera-1, one of the Iberian sites belonging to the Lower Cretaceous with the largest number of vertebrates.
Thanks to pig remains, scientists uncover extensive human mobility to sites near Stonehenge
A mutli-isotope analysis of pigs remains found around henge complexes near Stonehenge has revealed the large extent and scale of movements of human communities in Britain during the Late Neolithic.
Searching for human remains: Study suggests methodology to improve results
In an effort to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement searches for human remains in the wild, searchers should cover the same area twice from two different angles and work no more than 1 to 2 meters apart while exploring the area
First evidence of gigantic remains from star explosions
Astrophysicists have found the first ever evidence of gigantic remains being formed from repeated explosions on the surface of a dead star in the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years from Earth.
Remains of Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered
Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield have uncovered a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery.
Siberian paleontologists discovered the oldest macro-skeleton remains
The oldest skeleton remains known to fossil chronicle of the Earth belonged to the microorganisms that lived 700-650 million years ago.
Stillbirth reduction strategy remains unproven, study finds
A care package aimed at reducing the risk of babies being stillborn may offer marginal benefit, research led by the University of Edinburgh suggests.
More Human Remains News and Human Remains Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.