Archaeologists found in Azerbaijan human remains in a possible grave from 10,000 years ago

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The findings, made in a mountain around Ana Zaga -integrated into the Gobustan national reserve in Azerbaijan-, are the result of an international collaboration between Spanish, Azerbaijani and Italian archaeologists (Credit: EFE)
The findings, made in a mountain around Ana Zaga -integrated into the Gobustan national reserve in Azerbaijan-, are the result of an international collaboration between Spanish, Azerbaijani and Italian archaeologists (Credit: EFE)

An international team of archaeologists has discovered in Azerbaijan the human remains of a young individual, between four and eight years of age, that it was in anatomical position and that it was possibly buried about 10,000 years ago.

Scientists have also recovered various stone tools, animal bones (sheep, goat, horse and bovid), personal ornaments, ceramic remains and numerous small animal bones and charcoal that will allow us to know how the climate has been in that place in the last 10,000 years.

The findings, made on a mountain in the surroundings of Ana Zaga -integrated in the national reserve of Gobustan of Azerbaijan-, They are the result of an international collaboration between Spanish, Azerbaijani and Italian archaeologists that began in 2019.

His research, promoted by the Gobustan National Artistic and Historical Reserve (Azerbaijan), the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Ferrara (Italy), and financed by the Palarq Foundation and the Atapuerca Foundation, focuses on the rock art of Gobustan , which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.

Gobustan hosts at least 7,000 engravings in rock of an exceptional quality and an exceptional thematic, chronological and stylistic variety.

The engravings, which show the daily activities and the cognitive and symbolic complexity of the hunter-gatherers, are an exceptional testimony of that prehistoric and they reflect the first beliefs of Humanity.

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In this year’s campaign, the researchers have located in the Boyükdaş mountain, in the surroundings of Ana Zaga, a small cueva‘ with hundreds of engraved figures and with archaeological remains of human occupations excavated in the 60s and 70s of the last century.

They have also carried out a small excavation or ‘refreshment’ of the stratigraphic cut to specify the timeline of prehistoric human occupations that covered a part of the engravings, and thus be able to date the cave art with minimum ages.

Reference image of an archaeologist working on a piece (Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa)
Reference image of an archaeologist working on a piece (Photo: Martin Schutt/dpa)

All these archaeological works, whose study is in a preliminary phase, have uncovered 5 archaeological levels that contain archaeological occupations since the Middle Ages (around the fifteenth century) until Mesolithic times (approximately 10,000 years ago).

Archaeologists have recovered stone tools, animal bones, ornaments, ceramic remains and numerous bones of small animals and charcoal that will help to understand the evolution of the climate in the last 10,000 years.

The most notable finding has been the discovery of human remains at level 5, attributed to the Mesolithica time between about 10,000 years in which human groups were hunter-gatherer populations.

It is part of a human foot of a young individual (between four and eight years old) who was in anatomical position, probably remains of a tomb.

The next studies will specify the age of the individual, and will have to determine the relationship between the human remains and those previously located, since it is possible that it is the same individual; this will allow determining the type of burial and the possible existence of a funerary ritual.

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The human remains of It’s going around They are key to studying the symbolic behavior and ancestral rites of the last hunter-gatherer groups.

These human remains join the select and scarce set of known prehistoric human remains prior to the first livestock and agricultural populations, with whom burials and the associated funerary ritual became widespread.

Future studies will make it possible to identify the DNA of the discovered individual and its relationship with other Eurasian populations, while isotopic analyzes will provide data on the diet of these populations.

(with information from EFE)

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