Archaeologists Unearth Deformed Female Skulls in France

Monday, 18 Nov 2013 10:01 PM

By Amy Woods

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A French necropolis that contains about 38 tombs of the ancient dead has been found to have a strangely pointed female skull thought to have belonged to an aristocrat.

The skull was unearthed in the Alsace region of France at a burial site used during a more-than-4,000-year period beginning in the Stone Age, LiveScience reports.

Archaeologist Philippe Lefranc excavated the skull during a return visit to the necropolis, first discovered in 2011. Most of the tombs are well preserved because they are surrounded by limestone. They date from between 4900 and 4750 B.C.

"The corpses are lying on their backs, with outstretched legs and heads turned westwards," Lefranc said.

The flattened skull of another woman was found in a second cemetery containing 18 tombs and thought to have been in use 1,650 years ago. Both skulls probably were deformed intentionally, Lefranc said.

"The deformation of the skull with the help of bandages . . . and small boards is a practice coming from central Asia," he said. "It was popularized by the Huns and adopted by many German people."

Oddly shaped heads signified wealth.

"In France, Germany and eastern Europe, these deformed skulls appear in tombs rich in objects," Lefranc said.

Related stories:

Ancient Skulls Suggests Single Lineage for Early Human Ancestors
Brains Buried for Millennia Unearthed in Turkey



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