Home / Article / Article: State of the art forensic techniques reveal evidence of interpersonal violence ca. 30,000 years ago


A new article featuring CROSSROADS’ PI Prof. Katerina Harvati has been published on PLOS ONE. A brief abstract follows:

The Cioclovina (Romania) calvaria, dated to ca. 33 cal ka BP and thought to be associated with the Aurignacian lithic industry, is one of the few relatively well preserved representatives of the earliest modern Europeans. Two large fractures on this specimen have been described as taphonomic modifications. Here we used gross and virtual forensic criteria and experimental simulations on synthetic bone models, to investigate their nature. Both forensic trauma pattern analysis and experimental models exclude a postmortem origin for the Cioclovina fractures. Rather, they indicate two incidents of blunt force trauma, the second clearly inflicted with a club-like object. The magnitude and extent of the lesions and the lack of signs of healing indicate a fatal injury. The Upper Paleolithic period is noted for intensified technological innovation, increased symbolic behavior, and cultural complexity. We show that the behavioural repertoire of the earliest modern Europeans also comprised violent inter-personal interactions and murder.


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