At the time of its use, the Mesolithic, the burial site would have been on a shallow lake bottom covered with cramped stones on which human remains had been deposited with skulls on poles, all without jaws.
Swedish archaeologists have discovered human remains of the Mesolithic in the south of the country in an unusual underwater tomb from 8,000 years ago, with evidence of skulls that were exposed on poles.
In its article published in the magazine ‘Antiquity’, the group led by the University of Stockholm describes the site where the remains were found, the condition of the remains and also offers some possible explanations of the means by which the remains arrived at the burial underwater.
The people who lived during the Mesolithic were hunter-gatherers, so the site of the burial and its contents are surprising. At the time of its use, the burial site would have been on a shallow lake bottom covered with cramped stones on which human remains had been deposited. The remains were all skulls, except for one baby.
The adult skulls (except one) had jaw bones, and at least two of the skulls showed evidence of a club hit through the opening in the base through the top of the skull, usually associated with the placement of a skull to scare enemies.
But hunter-gatherers were not known to exhibit skulls or participate in horrible funeral rituals. Instead, they were known to get rid of their dead in simple and respectful ways.
The tomb was found in what is now southern Sweden , near an archaeological site known as Kanaljorden. Archaeologists have been working on the site since 2009, but it was not until 2011 that the first human remains were found.
To date, researchers have found the remains of 11 adults. In another surprise, the team discovered that all the adult skulls showed signs of trauma: each had been hit on the head several times. But the trauma was inflicted differently according to gender. Men were beaten on top or near the front of the head, while women were generally beaten from behind. However, none of the injuries seemed deadly, although without the rest of the body it is impossible to identify what killed them.
Investigators cannot offer an explanation of what they have found on the site, although they suggest that the victims may have died or been killed elsewhere and then transported to the burial site. Possibly because they were considered exceptional in some way.