hola, en el guardian.co tambien ha salido la noticia y tiene una foto,
saludosCave bone hints at prehistoric Devon cannibals• Deliberate cut marks found on 9,000-year-old arm bone
• Specimen from Kents Cavern was spotted in museum store
Cut marks on a 9,000-year-old human arm bone from Kents Cavern. Photograph: Ian R Cartwright/School of Archaeology/PA
Deliberate cut marks on a 9,000-year-old human bone excavated in a west country cave more than a century ago suggest that prehistoric Devonians may have been cannibals.
Scientists at Oxford University have examined a fragment of human bone from Kents Cavern, near Torquay in Devon, after a curator spotted it in a mass of animal bone in a museum store. They concluded that it was part of the forearm of a human adult, and that the seven cut marks were deliberately made with a stone tool around the time of death.
The marks suggest that either the flesh was stripped or the body chopped into pieces – perhaps for ritual reasons or to make it more convenient to handle. The arm appears to have been fractured around the time of death.
Evidence suggesting cannibalism has been found at a number of prehistoric British sites, including Cheddar Gorge, and bones apparently split to extract the marrow found at Eton in Berkshire.
However, there are other possible explanations for what happened to the dead deep inside in Kents Cavern millennia before the time archaeologists had believed complex death rituals evolved.
Rick Schulting, of the university's school of archaeology, said: "We can clearly see a series of fine parallel lines on the bone. These cuts may have been made to help the body decompose more quickly and speed up the process of joining the ancestors. Finds like this highlight the complexity of mortuary practices in the mesolithic period, many thousands of years before the appearance of farming in the neolithic period, which is more usually associated with complex funerary behaviour."
The human bone and the cut marks were spotted in the store of Torquay museum by the curator Barry Chandler. The bone was so well preserved he was shocked when radio-carbon dating gave an age of 9,000 years – the oldest human bone identified from the cave.
The cavern, now a tourist attraction, was one of the sites that helped to demolish the biblical account of the origins of man, when 19th-century excavators found evidence of human habitation mixed with the bones of long-extinct animals including woolly mammoth and rhinoceros. Cave bears once lived at the lowest level, and the tunnels and chambers were still used by humans for shelter and storage into Roman times.
The bone is on display in the Ancestors exhibition at Torquay museum