Monday, October 03, 2005

TWINS IN PREHISTORY

Have you noticed twins being pushed around in their strollers -- almost everywhere? They are special in 2005 but ubiquitous! Evidently some 28,000 years ago they were more than special and buried together with great ceremony.

Discovered on a hillside overlooking the Danube in Austria, the pair who are probably biological twins, were found near Krems in northern Austria by Christine Neugebauer-Maresch with her team from the Austrian Academy of Science. The babies were placed side by side in their grave and protected beneath a wooly mammoth's shoulder blade which was propped up by pieces of mammoth tusk, The bodies were wrapped in a materials such as animal hide that has since deteriorated and were covered with ochre.

The discoverer said that more than 31 ivory beads were also found at the burial site. "They had been buried with much ritual -- it is really very interesting," says Neugebauer-Maresch. They were found at a depth of five meters (about 15 feet) on September 21. The area had already yielded structural remains and stone artifacts but these were the first human remains to be found at the site.

The bones will be studied at Vienna's Natural History Museum. They will be placed within a chamber with controlled humidity in order to limit further deterioration. Proving that they were twins will come with DNA and bone fragment studies, although there may not be enough DNA to accomplish this. Full story check: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8063

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