University of Bristol Spelæological Society

Marked human bones from Gough's Cave, Somerset (UBSS Proceedings v.17(3))

Proceedings » Volume 17 » Sub-volume 3

Cook,J., 1986. Marked human bones from Gough's Cave, Somerset. UBSS Proceedings, 17(3) , pp 275-285 Download PDF.

Abstract: The loan by Cheddar Caves Museum of the hominid specimens found at Gough's Cave, Somerset, to the British Museum (Natural History) provided an opportunity to study a number of marks, including linear incisions, noted by previous authors and attributed to human activities. After documenting the distribution, orientation and macroscopic characteristics of the marks, their microscopic features were recorded using a binocular light microscope and scanning electron microscope. These examinations revealed generally random groups of various types of incisions as well as gouges and indentations. Comparison of these results with modern experimental and taphonomic data suggests that the marks observed are largely due to natural damage which occurred when the bones were at or near the surface of the deposits. Exceptionally, some equivocal evidence for deliberate human interference occurs on the adult mandible (Gough's Cave 6) nad may be related to post mortem removal of the tongue.

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