Mystery remains in 8,000-year pit were dismembered before burial

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Indonesia have uncovered the dismembered remains of a small child buried some 8,000 years ago, believing the remains were taken apart during a mysterious burial ritual.

PUBLISHED: 15:27, Wed, Nov 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 15:28, Wed, Nov 4, 2020

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The chilling discovery was made in Makpan Cave on Alor Island, which is one of the more than 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia. The remains have been dated to the early mid-Holocene period and could give researchers important insight into the burial practices of the times. Archaeologists believe the Alor remains belonged to a child aged between four and eight-years-old.


What is unusual about this discovery, is the child had its legs and arms removed before burial.

According to lead researcher Dr Sofia Samper Carro of the Australian National University, certain clues suggest the remains were laid to rest during some form of ceremony.

She said: "Ochre pigment was applied to the cheeks and forehead and an ochre-coloured cobblestone was placed under the child's head when they were buried."

"Child burials are very rare and this complete burial is the only from this time period.

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Archaeology news: Remains of child in IndonesiaArchaeology news: The dismembered remains were found in a cave in indonesia (Image: DR SHIMONA KEALY, ANU/DR SOFIA SAMPER CARRO, ANU)

Archaeology news: Remains of youn child on AlorArchaeology news: The remains have been dated to the Holocene period 8,000 years ago (Image: MS TAHLIA STEWART, ANU)

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"From 3,000 years ago to modern times, we start seeing more child burials and these are very well studied.

"But, with nothing from the early Holocene period, we just don't know how people of this era treated their dead children. This find will change that."

After the child's limbs were removed they were disposed of in a separate location.

But according to Dr Samper Carro, this is not entirely without precedent and may have been part of a religious or cultural practice.

She said: "The lack of long bones is a practice that has been

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