This is an interesting story, construction workers in Sydney discovered a 4,000 year old skeleton. What makes the find interesting is that it seems to be the oldest example of ritual spearing in Australia.
Among the bones the team found 17 stone artefacts.
“We started to find a lot of these little points, which are called back artefacts,” she said.
“They’re quite common tools that we find in archaeological sites around Australia. But the function of these has never actually been totally demonstrated.
“People have started doing residue studies on these and we’ve discovered that they’ve been used for a range of purposes.
“They’ve been used to cut up vegetables, we found starch on them. We found bits of feather and plant remains and proteins and things on them.
“But we’d never actually found them in a human body, and so in this particular case we’ve been able to demonstrate that these particular types of tools were used as barbs on a spear and the spear was used to kill somebody.”
The individual suffered more than just being speared. The cranium had a spear puncture as well as a large cut mark, from an axe. The article doesn’t mention the position of the body (orientation, whether it was face up or face down, etc) nor whether any other artifacts were found. In any case this is interesting because it documents that ritual murder, in Australia, is older than previously thought.
(Hat Tip to Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD)