The oldest ritual burial of a little girl in Europe was found in Italy

In a cave in northern Italy, archaeologists have found so far the oldest ritual burial of a little girl in Europe. The age of the remains is about 10 thousand years. The description of the find was published by the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

Scientists believe that ideas about the other world appeared long before the appearance of the first civilizations. In particular, excavations of the last half of the century show that already 20-30 thousand years ago, Cro-Magnons from Europe and the Middle East had complex funeral rites.

They decorated the bodies and graves of the deceased with flowers, patterns made of stones and other objects that could be useful to their deceased fellow tribesman in the afterlife. Scientists have found similar burials in caves where Neanderthals lived, so researchers continue to argue what role such traditions could play in the birth of civilization.

The oldest grave of a child

Jamie Hodgkins of Colorado State University and her colleagues found the first example of early Europeans burying children at least 10,000 years ago with the same honors as deceased elderly and adults. The scientists made the find in the Armagh Veyrana cave, which is located in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy.

Recently, “black diggers” found tools left by the Neanderthals in the cave, which made professional archaeologists pay attention to it. In one corner of the cave, Hodgkins and her colleagues discovered a burial that belonged to the era in which Italy was already inhabited by Cro-Magnons.

A girl was buried in this grave, who for still unknown reasons died in the second month of her life. The body was adorned with a necklace made of shells; a talisman made from the claws of an eagle and other objects of probably ritual nature were also found in the grave.

From these findings, anthropologists conclude that the compatriots of the deceased girl considered her a full-fledged member of the tribe and treated her with the same respect as adults. This casts doubt on the idea that in the distant past, young children were not perceived by others as full-fledged individuals and in some cases did not even have a name until they reached a certain age.

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