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Bronze Age Brits turned bones into instruments

By T.K. Randall
September 1, 2020 · Comment icon 6 comments

Imagine turning your relative's thigh bone into a flute... Image Credit: PD - ahmed adly
During the Bronze Age, our ancestors would sometimes turn the bones of their relatives into musical instruments.
While in the modern age it is not unusual for someone to keep the ashes of a deceased relative, some people in Bronze Age Britain took the preservation of the dead one step further by doing away with the cremation process entirely and holding on to actual body parts for long periods of time.

According to new research, between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago it was not unusual for people to use the bones of their dead relatives in a wide variety of ways, such as incorporating them into the foundations of a building, decorating a grave site or even making musical instruments out of them.

"It has been suggested that these remains were something akin to saintly relics," said Dr Tom Booth of the The Francis Crick Institute. "That they are reflecting mythical or legendary figures that existed way back in the past and who no one living would have known personally."
Radiocarbon dating however suggests otherwise - in all likelihood, the people who had been using the bones probably knew the individual that they had once belonged to.

"On average it was a couple of generations, so about 60 years, that these remains were being kept," said Booth. "This means that the bones probably came from people who had lived in the community or were being kept among those who knew the person who the bone once belonged to."

"The evidence suggests that people were curating and keeping these bones, but it wasn't for hundreds or thousands of years, it was maybe for a few decades, perhaps up to a couple of centuries."

Source: Natural History Museum | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
More proof that we are, in fact, Metal AF.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Cookie Monster 3 years ago
If making musical instruments out of our dead relatives isn`t bad enough you dont want to know what we did to our war horses. Even Sparta would blush at that one. Lets just say a warrior horse in love with its master is unlikely to abandon him during battle.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Piney 3 years ago
Link?  Because horses only know food, "fight or flight". 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Cookie Monster 3 years ago
Most ancient civilizations in the west practised it at some point: I didnt find one on the Britons, but thats my country and I have seen documentaries on it over the years. The warrior would have sex with the horse to bond it to them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney 3 years ago
So it's BS then. You can't b*gger a horse and bond with it and warriors didn't. .     and my mother was British and my grandfather was the Oxford historian Valentine Noel Jowett. I'm more than well versed in British history.  Your thinking of the PIE king initiation which was practiced by the Celts and Hindus where you have to have fake sex with a horse to bond with a goddess, then sacrificed it. Ashvamedha (Sanskrit%3A अश्वमेध aśvamedha,a period of one year.    
Comment icon #6 Posted by Cookie Monster 3 years ago
Oh go away and troll someone else.

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