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Prehistoric Grave May Be Earliest Example of Death During Childbirth

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posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:14 PM
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Usually I am pretty jazzed to report archeological finds but this is just sad, no matter how one looks at it.

Archaeologists say they've made a grim discovery in Siberia: the grave of a young mother and her twins, who all died during a difficult childbirth about 7,700 years ago.

The finding may be the oldest confirmed evidence of twins in history and one of the earliest examples of death during childbirth, the researchers say.

The grave was first excavated in 1997 at a prehistoric cemetery in Irkutsk, a Russian city near the southern tip of Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. The cemetery has been dubbed Lokomotiv because it was exposed in the base of a hill that was being carved out during construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1897. [8 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]

Because the cemetery is partially covered by city development, it hasn't been fully excavated. All 101 of the bodies found so far at Lokomotiv were members of a hunter-gatherer community that roamed the area between 8,000 and 7,000 years ago. It's rare to find transient hunter-gatherer communities who buried their dead in formal cemeteries, but archaeologists have documented this practice at several other sites in northeastern Asia.




The fetal bones were all found within the mother's pelvic area and between her thighs. By analyzing the original placement of the remains, Lieverse reconstructed a traumatic childbirth scenario that even today — with modern medicine and the option of a C-section — would have been risky for the mother and her babies.

It seemed that one of the twins might have been breech (positioned with its feet down) and was partially delivered, Lieverse said. The second twin was positioned with its head down and seems to have remained in the womb. Lieverse thinks the breech baby may have been trapped or locked with its sibling, leading to a fatal obstructed birth.

"It might be a bit circumstantial, but I think it's quite strong," Lieverse said of her interpretation. She added that there has been very little postmortem shifting of the bones found at Lokomotiv, and everything is in place on the mother, even her ribs and little bones in her hands.

What makes the discovery remarkable is that cases of death during childbirth and instances of twins tend to be invisible in the archaeological record. There have been some cases of babies of a similar age buried in the same grave, but even if you had "impeccably preserved DNA," it would still be difficult to tell if these were twins and not siblings or cousins, Lieverse said.


www.msn.com...

A link to the abstract


journals.cambridge.org...

I am also sure that there will be genetics finding announced in a few months, it will be interesting to see what turns up, as this area is pivotal to understanding the movemenst of pleistocene and early holocene humans.




posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:20 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

Earliest example of death during childbirth AND earliest example of twins in the archaeological record.



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:26 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10
With so many people buried in place, and given what we know about the eastern gravettian, from who these people likley descended from, i would say they were not "hunter/ gatherers" as we think of them.
I would say they lived at the place full time and only the men were actually semi nomadic.



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:27 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
Yes it is,
Makes wonder about the two children found in alaska.



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:29 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

what really fascinates me is that this is presumed "hunter gatherer", but it lived contemporary to Dwarka. While these folks were living a subsistence life, in India massive public works were being carried out to stave off the ocean.

That is quite a disparity.



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:30 PM
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I find it facinating that a nomadic tribe would bury their dead in stationary cemetaries, did they take the bodies with them until their route brought them to this site or did they have several located at every seasonal stop?



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 08:06 PM
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originally posted by: Daavin
I find it facinating that a nomadic tribe would bury their dead in stationary cemetaries, did they take the bodies with them until their route brought them to this site or did they have several located at every seasonal stop?

It pretty much proves they were not nomads.
One thing that is coming to light in European sites , and looks like in certain north American ice age cultures, is that they were more itinerant, than nomadic.
In locations where resources are close at hand , the people mostly stayed put, and the men would hunt the big game or make the long journeys to get rare stuff like tool stone and salt.



posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 08:11 PM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10

originally posted by: Daavin
I find it facinating that a nomadic tribe would bury their dead in stationary cemetaries, did they take the bodies with them until their route brought them to this site or did they have several located at every seasonal stop?

It pretty much proves they were not nomads.
One thing that is coming to light in European sites , and looks like in certain north American ice age cultures, is that they were more itinerant, than nomadic.
In locations where resources are close at hand , the people mostly stayed put, and the men would hunt the big game or make the long journeys to get rare stuff like tool stone and salt.


It doesnt sound like such a bad life.....



posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 10:32 PM
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Its not the information I post that people have issues with, the people have issues with me.www.ugly.info... for your posting.



posted on Feb, 6 2015 @ 11:51 PM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10

originally posted by: Daavin
I find it facinating that a nomadic tribe would bury their dead in stationary cemetaries, did they take the bodies with them until their route brought them to this site or did they have several located at every seasonal stop?

It pretty much proves they were not nomads.
One thing that is coming to light in European sites , and looks like in certain north American ice age cultures, is that they were more itinerant, than nomadic.
In locations where resources are close at hand , the people mostly stayed put, and the men would hunt the big game or make the long journeys to get rare stuff like tool stone and salt.


It doesn't seem too terribly different to how the Iroquois lived up until the late 18th century. Minus the agriculture of course. A stable village near resources where women and children stayed for large portions of the year with men going out on sometimes lengthy hunting and trading expeditions. I've always thought that burial practices were, at least somewhat, indicative of feeling a tie to the land or area in which the burials took place. For someplace to feel that much like "home" one would spend a large portion of their year or life in the same area.



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