Archaeologists have discovered the oldest known human burial ground in Africa: a young child slept in a shallow grave 78,000 years ago.
The new research was published in the journal Wednesday. nature Details of the excavation of the graves of children at the mouth of the Panga ya Saidi cave along the southeastern coast of Kenya.
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Researchers first discovered fragments of children̵7;s bones during excavations in 2013 and spent years later digging and casting fragile bones in plaster.
“At this point we are not sure what we have found. The bones are too fragile to be studied in this field. ”Emmanuel N. Diego, from the Kenya National Museum. Said at the launch“We found ourselves quite excited – but it took a while before we realized the significance of it.”
The sample is then sent to a laboratory for detailed analysis. Later, researchers were able to study the teeth and confirm that the corpse belonged to a 2 to 3 year old man who was later nicknamed “Mtoto”, which means “child” in Swahili.
The biopsy scan revealed that the child’s body was placed in the fetal position, with the knees tucked into the chest and the skull position indicating that it might be placed on the headrest or pillow. Researchers believe the body may have been tightly wrapped in the shroud prior to burial, and they said the child was deliberately buried shortly after his death.
“The articulation of the vertebrae and the ribs remains astonishing, even maintaining the curvature of the thoracic cage, indicating that it is an undisturbed burial and its decay takes place in the pit where the bone was found,” said María Martinón. -Torres Said director of the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH).
While the site is believed to be the oldest burial site in Africa. But archaeologists have made a similar discovery in Asia that is between 90,000 and 130,000 years old.
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