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Three carve skull fragments have been unearthed in Turkey at a Neolithic excavation site, Göbekli Tepe. Such modifications of human remains have not been reported before among the Neolithic excavations.

These modified skull fragments indicate a new ritual group or "skull cult" from the Neolithic period. All through history, humans have valued skulls for varied reasons, from ancestor worship to the belief that human skulls transfer protective qualities. This prominence of the skull has led to the coining of the anthropological term- skull cult. Different skull cults, each with typical modifications to skulls have been recorded.

In the recently unearthed skull fragments in Turkey, the researchers noticed a previously unknown type of modifications. Each of those had deliberate deep slits along its sagittal axes. There was even a bored hole in the left parietal bone and red ochre remains.

The researchers used various different microscopic techniques and found that the carvings were done using lithic tools.

The researchers say that the skulls were more likely carved to respect ancestors soon after their death, or, to display recently killed enemies. Thus, these findings offer the very first proof for treatment of the dead at Göbekli Tepe.

By: Angel Robert


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