Oldest human burial site found in Africa, dating back to 78,000 years old
Archaeologists have discovered the oldest human burial in Africa that offers insight into 78,000 years old burial practices, according to a new study.
Archaeologists have discovered the oldest human burial in Africa that offers insight into 78,000 years old burial practices, according to a new study published on May 05, 2021, in the journal Nature.
A skeleton of about a 3-years-old toddler buried with a pillow under his head was excavated from the modern-day Panga ya Saidi, Kenya, North of Mombasa, Africa. The body of the toddler was placed on its side with legs flexed to its chest, the study mentioned.
Maria Martinon-Torres, co-author of the study and Director at the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Burgos, Spain said, “We could infer this child was really put there in a specific position with a pillow under his head.”
Torres explained that putting a child lying in a sleeping position shows respect, care, and tenderness. “I think it’s one of most important, the earliest evidence in Africa, of humans living in the physical and the symbolic world,” Torres added.
Panga ya Saidi burial site: Key findings
•A skeleton of about a 3-years-old toddler buried with a pillow under his head was excavated from the modern-day Panga ya Saidi, Kenya, North of Mombasa, Africa.
•The site of the burial did not bear any signs of ochre or offerings, but the treatment given to the toddler depicts a complex ritual that required the participation of several members of the child’s community.
•This evidence showed that the people of Eurasia and Neanderthals commonly buried their dead in residential sites unlike the mortuary behaviors of early people in Africa.
•Nicole Boivin, principal investigator of the project and director, department of archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Germany said, “Panga ya Saidi is truly one of a kind.”
•Several excavations at Panga ya Saidi have established it as a key type of site for the East African coast, “with an extraordinary 78,000-years-old record of early human cultural, technological and symbolic activities,” she further added.
•The study further provides detailed insights into the timeline of the evolution of early people in Africa and also throws light on the regional diversity in the evolution of our species.
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