Time to Meet Our Distant Ancestors Close Up after More Than 5,000 Years

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 12, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Time to Meet Our Distant Ancestors Close Up after More Than 5,000 Years


Byline: By Rhiannon Beacham

Advanced scientific wizardry in Wales is helping to bring our ancestors to life and sharpen up the 'fuzzy' image of prehistory. Extra-precise dating techniques at Cardiff University are helping to paint a far clearer picture of what new archaeological finds might mean.

Scientists can date their findings much more precisely, allowing them to look at individuals' lives in detail instead of a grand historical timespan.

The techniques have been used in the dating of human bones discovered at a prehistoric burial site which indicates they belong to people who may have died in a massacre in the Neolithic Age.

Remains of the 14 people - three of whom were probably killed by arrows - were discovered at Wayland's Smithy, a burial mound near the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, in the 1960s.

Their bones were buried in the oldest part of the mound, known as a chambered long barrow, and researchers have now narrowed the date of their burials to between 3590 and 3560 BC.

The ground-breaking research was carried out by English Heritage with the help of Cardiff University and the University of Central Lancashire.

Professor Alasdair Whittle of the Cardiff School of History and Archaeology at Cardiff University, said, 'Up to now prehistorians have tended to emphasise long-term change, in search of long-running or underlying processes at the expense of shorter-term events and succession.

'This dating programme will help direct the study of prehistory to get much closer to people.'

Michael Wysocki, senior lecturer in forensic and investigative science at the University of Central Lancashire, said the findings opened up the possibility that they could have died as a result of a massacre, maybe in a scramble for land or a cattle raid.

This, he said, suggested the Neolithic Age was marked by more violence than previously thought.

'We know one person was shot through the lower abdomen because we have found the tiny tip of a flint arrowhead embedded in their pelvic bone,' he said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Time to Meet Our Distant Ancestors Close Up after More Than 5,000 Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?