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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007 Jul;133(3):899-917.

Evidence for bronze age cannibalism in El Mirador Cave (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).

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IPHES-URV, Area de Prehistòria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Imperial Tarraco, ES43005 Tarragona, Spain.


During excavations of the Bronze Age levels at El Mirador Cave, a hole containing human remains was found. Taphonomic analysis revealed the existence of cutmarks, human toothmarks, cooking damage, and deliberate breakage in most of the remains recovered, suggesting a clear case of gastronomic cannibalism. The piled distribution of the remains, the uneven skeletal representation, and the chronological difference between the pit and the remains suggest that these bones were subsequently buried by a human group that inhabited into the cave later in time. Evidence of gastronomic cannibalism has already been documented in Gran Dolina, another site in the Sierra de Atapuerca, on remains of Homo antecessor with an age of 800 ky (Fernández-Jalvo et al.: Science 271 (1996) 277-278; Fernández-Jalvo et al.: J Hum Evol 37 (1999) 591-622).

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