Oldest human cremation discovered in Britain

Oldest human cremation discovered in Britain


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During the course of some excavations carried out for a gas pipeline in the town of Langford, Essex (England), a deposit has been found that houses inside different cremated human bones which, according to the first studies, date back to the Mesolithic period, thus becoming the first cremated human bone from this period and in history found in Britain.

Among the material found are 118 grams of cremated bone and they were deposited in a bit of about a meter in diameter and later filled in with earth. After the tests carried out with radiocarbon, A date dating back to 5,600 BC has been confirmed..

Louise loeBurial Chief of Archeology at the University of Oxford analyzed the bone and determined that it represents at least the remains of an adult, although the weight of the bones is only 7% of what would be expected from a complete individual. Something that together with the large amount of charcoal present, it is suspected that it is a deposit or remains of a pyre, therefore not all the cremated bone is found in it.

It is an important discovery given that so far, Only about 20 examples of human bone had been found dating back to the British Mesolithic (from 10,000 BC to 4,000 BC) but none of them had been cremated. The closest to this have been the three cremations of this period but in Ireland and some other in Continental Europe.

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Excavation Director Nick Gilmour stated that: “We did not expect to find this cremation and at most we would have expected it to be from the Bronze Age, but after the analysis, when we saw the first date, which dates back to the Mesolithic, we had to do the tests twice more because we did not we believed it”.

Dr. Barry Bishop, who was in charge of studying the stone from this area, also studied three beaten flints that were found in the same well, confirming almost with total certainty that they could be Mesolithic objects, although they still need to be studied a little more.

Now, after this new discovery there are new theories about human society in Britain and where the perception that was had until now of the people who lived at that time, mainly nomadic hunter-gatherers, about whom not much is known, will surely change.

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