Two Late Neolithic human skeletons, a recent discovery in the Netherlands

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Abstract

Recently, two Late Neolithic skeletons belonging to the Single Grave Culture (ca. 4500 BP) were discovered in the province of North-Holland. It is the first time that such complete and well-preserved skeletons of this age have been found in The Netherlands. Both skeletons were subjected to an extensive and close examination in order to gain more information about these two individuals and their way of life. Application of different methods resulted in the determination of the sex (a male and a female), the age at death and the stature of the skeletons. Pathological features could be established in the female skeleton by means of radiography. The male skeleton was incomplete owing to animal scavenging. The tooth marks on the bones were studied in an attempt to discover the circumstances of death. In order to obtain information about the diet of the two individuals, the dental microwear and the remains of plaque and calculus were investigated. This investigation demonstrates the importance of physical anthropological studies with regard to the reconstruction of life in the past.

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