They solve a murder of 5,000 years ago in the Tarragona site of Cova Foradada


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In 1999, archaeologists found inside the Cova Foradada, in the Tarragona town of Calafell, a skull of a man in his 50s with a notable fracture. The remains were part of a Collective burial of the Final Neolithic-Chalcolithic, from between 5,060 and 4,400 years.

The observable traumas in the human skeleton constitute the most direct evidence of the episodes of interpersonal violence and are frequently documented from the Paleolithic, although it is from the Neolithic when this behavior it increases exponentially.

Blows with blunt objects, projectile impacts, or cut marks are some examples of injuries associated with violent events, although determine object type that was used as a weapon not always possible.

Hence the relevance of a new study of researchers from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES), the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) and the University of Barcelona (UB) who have achieved determine the object that most likely produced the head injury of the man from Cova Foradada, as well as the direction of the blow.

Miguel Ángel Moreno-Ibáñez, lead author of the article published in the “International Journal of Paleopathology”, has stated that the key was in the fracture pattern. Analyzed with both a binocular loupe and a computed microtomography (micro-CT), it is in the right parietal and does not show no evidence of cure.

«The fissures in radial arrangement, some of them with a considerable opening, the internal desquamation and the acute fracture angles inform us that it is a trauma perimortem, that is to say, around the time of death of the individual, “Moreno-Ibáñez explained in a statement.

In addition, they have discovered that the individual had two antemortem injuries, in the occipital and in the right temporal, completely healed, and a postmortem fracture in the lower occipital area. Therefore, in this same skull it is possible to observe the difference between antemortem, perimortem and postmortem trauma.

The researcher has assured that head injuries are of particular interest, since “the head is the main target when the intention is kill the individualTherefore, these types of injuries are frequently associated with the cause of death. The resulting fracture pattern indicates that ‘a blunt object with a straight and pointed edge, like the stone axes and adzes polished, ”according to the scientist.

These objects have a similar morphology, but differ in their position and manner of use, since the axes are sleeved along the longitudinal axis of the handle, while the adzes respond to a transversal arrangement.

The fact that they were able identify the point of impact in the cranial fracture has allowed inferring which of these objects was the most likely used: adze.

Moreno-Ibáñez has affirmed that the greatest destruction is located in a position prior to the point of impact, so the knock it was provocated from the back of the individual, probably by a right-handed attacker, and has pointed out that “a portion of bone was slightly depressed inward in response to external pressure,” for which a lever movement to remove the adze.

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