A team of archaeologists have unearth a buried baby and the remains of a fetus that dates back to about 11,500 years ago of the Ice Age. The remains were discovered at a burial site in Alaska, and together with the clues found with the infant remains, provide insights into what must have obtained in those ancient age in the Americas.
With the burials located in the Upward Sun River area of Alaska, the skeletons of the ancient baby was found underneath the cremated remains of a toddler in a circular pit that contained items of four antler rods and two stone projectiles all decorated with red ochre – the items were termed as “grave goods” by the researchers.
“Two interred infants with associated grave goods and a third cremated child represent the earliest known human remains from the North American subarctic, and they provide evidence for novel mortuary behaviours at the end of the last Ice Age,” the archaeologists, led by Ben Potter of the University of Alaska noted.
According to dental and skeletal analyses done on the remains, the researchers believe that one of the skeletons was that of a long-term fetus while the other belonged to a child that died soon after birth. The researchers believe the burial site was used for babies and infants that died during the Ice Age Pleistocene period, because the remains of both babies who were believed to be female, was discovered about 40 centimeters underneath the cremated remains of another 3-year old baby earlier excavated in 2010.
Analyzing the tools found in the children burial site, Joel Irish of the Liverpool John Moores University notes that the pit burial, red ochre, functional tools that consisted of grave goods, instead of the conventional burial ornaments indicated that the people of the period had the same cultural burial rites. The antler rods and stone projectile points could mean hunting implements, and this should mean the Ice Age people were primarily hunters at the time.