Archeologists claim that they have found evidence of the first known murder case in human history – a 430,000-year-old skull. The human remains were unearthed in Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of Bones”), an archeological site located in northern Spain.
According to researchers, the skull bears the mark of a blunt force trauma that was most likely deliberately caused by an aggressor. The skull, dubbed Cranium 17, was so severely damaged that it had to be put back together piece by piece by forensic archaeologists. They said that they had to match together 52 separate pieces.
At the archeological site, researchers said that they had found 28 more skeletons dating back to the Middle Pleistocene. But Cranium 17 was the only one that bore signs of deliberate force trauma. In order to reach it, archeologists had to go down the pit into a vertical 40-foot- deep chimney.
Forensics reported that the skull belongs to a young adult that was hit with a blunt object in the forehead as the pair of wounds above the left eye show. They believe that they hold evidence of a murder.
In order to make sure, they used CT scans and a 3-D model. With help from a computer, they were able to calculate the force of impact and the trajectory of the weapon, and look for evidence that could reveal if the wounds were inflicted after the person had died. They also looked for signs of healing to see whether the wounds were lethal or not.
According to the computer model, the skull had no traces of healing or signs indicating that the wounds were inflicted after his death. So, forensics concluded that the wounds were severe enough to end the life of the victim.
They also believe that the wounds were not caused by an accident because accidents usually occur on the side of the skull, rather than in the face as murders happen.
Because the wounds were placed on the left side of the skull, investigators speculate that the attacker was right-handed. They also believe that the critical evidence that points out a murder case were the signs of two separate blows. Multiple strikes usually pinpoint “a clear intention to kill,” researchers explained.
Archeologists had found other ancient skeletons bearing sings of trauma but none of them suggested so clearly a murder. Other cases solved by archeologists suggested either cannibalistic behavior or injury. Cranium 17’s investigators concluded that man’s violent intentions may be indeed as old as human nature.
Image Source: Phys