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British Cannibals?

British Cannibals

Suspicious cut marks on a human skull
Paleontologist Silvia Bello and butcher Jim Baker
Replicas of sharp flint tools found in Gough’s Cave
3D images of cut-marks found on fossilized human remains
Gough’s Cave at Cheddar Gorge, UK
Fossilized human jawbone
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What do the bones early Britons tell us?

Were they cannibals?

In a cave in Somerset England, archeologists have discovered human bones that date back 13,000 years.

Here, some bones have curious cut marks that may, or may not mean that early Britons were cannibals.

We follow paleontologists Chris Stringer and Sylvia Bello to an underground cavern, a 3D imaging lab, and a butcher shop, to analyze clues that may lead to a disturbing answer.

Were early Britons cannibals? The secret is revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside The Natural History Museum.

Follow the Evidence

A few cut marks on ancient bones can't tell us why some unknown human used some unknown instrument to cut into the bones of another unknown human.

Or can they?

When the situation calls for it, Paleontologists are prepared to become crime scene investigators of the ancient dead. In our broadcast episode, they examine the bones with a 3D scanner to map the cut marks in detail.

What they find suggests that the cut marks were post mortem. But are they evidence of a funeral ritual, or evidence that flesh was cut from the bone as meat for dinner?

We invite you to examine the physical evidence by viewing our Interactive Feature: Ice Age CSI.

Who Were the Ice Age Britons?

Discover the surprising lifestyle of a prehistoric people in our Web Exclusive Video: Cave People.

Believe It Or Not

Do you find it hard to believe ice age Britons were cannibals?  What if we told you they used human skulls as cups?  Dubious? Then we suggest you check out this article in the Guardian:

Over To You

If you enjoyed our virtual tour of Cheddar cave, perhaps you'd like to see the real thing.  If so, all you need do is make your way to Somerset England and sign up for one of the many available tours.

Or perhaps, like us, you're simply fascinated by caves in general.  In that case we invite you to view one cave enthusiast's illustrated list of 16 Unusual Caves of the World.


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