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Bronze Age Bone Objects Examined

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

England Bone InstrumentBRISTOL, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that researchers from the University of Bristol radiocarbon dated Bronze Age human remains and artifacts made of human bone and examined them with micro-computed tomography. The radiocarbon dates suggest that many of the bone artifacts belonged to contemporaries of the grave occupants, while the micro-computer tomography scans revealed that some of the bone artifacts came from cremated remains, some of the bones had been exhumed after burial, and other came from bodies that were allowed to decompose on the surface of the ground. Thomas Booth of the University of Bristol said the varied treatment of the remains indicates there was no established protocol for the treatment of bodies whose bones would be preserved as keepsakes. These people may have been played an important role in the community, or they may have been family members, friends, or even enemies. The artifacts may have served as relics to remember individuals within living memory, or as aids to telling stories about them. For example, a human thigh bone that had been carved and polished into a musical instrument was recovered from a grave at a Bronze Age archaeological site near Stonehenge. To read about a Bronze Age barrow cemetery discovered in Hampshire, go to "World Roundup: England."

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