Remains of a female victim of Mesolithic violence found in Northern Italy

A Mesolithic woman from Northern Italy turned out to be a victim of prehistoric violence, paleopathologists’ research shows. The woman’s remains were found in 1995 and are from Mezzocorona Borgonuovo, Northern Italy. It is one of the few finds that show evidence of violence in ancient times.

Numerous lesions were found on the bones of the woman’s skull, among which was a through D-shaped lesion. This injury, according to scientists, could have been the cause of the woman’s death. In addition, there were also healed fractures on the bones of the skull and postcranial skeleton, indicating that the woman had been repeatedly abused.

The study of the woman’s remains established that she lived during the Mesolithic period, between 5612 and 5409 B.C. The researchers noted that in Northern Italy burials of people from the Mesolithic era are extremely rare: in addition to this finding known yet the remains of two adults and one girl-child who died at the age of 40-50 days about ten thousand years ago.

Interpersonal violence has accompanied humanity since ancient times. However, there is not much direct evidence going back to the Lower Paleolithic era. The most striking are the remains found in the Spanish cave of Sima de los Huezos. Paleoanthropologists discovered that at least 17 of the 20 skulls of Heidelberg humans (Homo heiderlbergensis) from this monument bear traces of severe damage.

There are also known examples from the Upper Paleolithic era, when modern anatomical type humans settled on our planet. Thus, an adult male Cro-Magnon man from the famous Sungir site, who lived about 35-33 thousand years ago, became a victim of violence. Although one of the serious injuries on his bones was found quite a long time ago, researchers have recently also found out that in ancient times he had his skull fractured with a stone object. A similar blunt force injury was sustained more than 31,000 years ago by a man from the Cro-Magnon site.

More such examples belong to the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. For example, early Neolithic agriculturalists were discovered in Spain several years ago, which, according to scientists, could have fallen at the hands of aboriginal Mesolithic hunter-gatherers.

The reason for the violence of the Mezzocorona-Borgonuovo woman remains a mystery. However, the authors of the paper, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, suggested that it was the work of members of an alien group, not her own.

The study of the remains of a Mesolithic woman from Northern Italy, which was a victim of violence, allows us to better understand the life of people in antiquity and their relationships with each other. These findings remind us that violence has accompanied humanity throughout its history.

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