Earliest known human burial in Africa. / Martinón-Torres, María; d’Errico, Francesco; Santos, Elena; Álvaro Gallo, Ana; Amano, Noel; Archer, William; Armitage, Simon J.; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Blinkhorn, James; Crowther, Alison; Douka, Katerina; Dubernet, Stéphan; Faulkner, Patrick; Fernández-Colón, Pilar; Kourampas, Nikos; González García, Jorge; Larreina, David; Le Bourdonnec, François Xavier; MacLeod, George; Martín-Francés, Laura; Massilani, Diyendo; Mercader, Julio; Miller, Jennifer M.; Ndiema, Emmanuel; Notario, Belén; Pitarch Martí, Africa; Prendergast, Mary E.; Queffelec, Alain; Rigaud, Solange; Roberts, Patrick; Shoaee, Mohammad Javad; Shipton, Ceri; Simpson, Ian; Boivin, Nicole; Petraglia, Michael D.

In: Nature, Vol. 593, No. 7857, 05.05.2021, p. 95-100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Published

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Earliest known human burial in Africa. / Martinón-Torres, María; d’Errico, Francesco; Santos, Elena; Álvaro Gallo, Ana; Amano, Noel; Archer, William; Armitage, Simon J.; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Bermúdez de Castro, José María; Blinkhorn, James; Crowther, Alison; Douka, Katerina; Dubernet, Stéphan; Faulkner, Patrick; Fernández-Colón, Pilar; Kourampas, Nikos; González García, Jorge; Larreina, David; Le Bourdonnec, François Xavier; MacLeod, George; Martín-Francés, Laura; Massilani, Diyendo; Mercader, Julio; Miller, Jennifer M.; Ndiema, Emmanuel; Notario, Belén; Pitarch Martí, Africa; Prendergast, Mary E.; Queffelec, Alain; Rigaud, Solange; Roberts, Patrick; Shoaee, Mohammad Javad; Shipton, Ceri; Simpson, Ian; Boivin, Nicole; Petraglia, Michael D.

In: Nature, Vol. 593, No. 7857, 05.05.2021, p. 95-100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Harvard

Martinón-Torres, M, d’Errico, F, Santos, E, Álvaro Gallo, A, Amano, N, Archer, W, Armitage, SJ, Arsuaga, JL, Bermúdez de Castro, JM, Blinkhorn, J, Crowther, A, Douka, K, Dubernet, S, Faulkner, P, Fernández-Colón, P, Kourampas, N, González García, J, Larreina, D, Le Bourdonnec, FX, MacLeod, G, Martín-Francés, L, Massilani, D, Mercader, J, Miller, JM, Ndiema, E, Notario, B, Pitarch Martí, A, Prendergast, ME, Queffelec, A, Rigaud, S, Roberts, P, Shoaee, MJ, Shipton, C, Simpson, I, Boivin, N & Petraglia, MD 2021, 'Earliest known human burial in Africa', Nature, vol. 593, no. 7857, pp. 95-100. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8

APA

Martinón-Torres, M., d’Errico, F., Santos, E., Álvaro Gallo, A., Amano, N., Archer, W., Armitage, S. J., Arsuaga, J. L., Bermúdez de Castro, J. M., Blinkhorn, J., Crowther, A., Douka, K., Dubernet, S., Faulkner, P., Fernández-Colón, P., Kourampas, N., González García, J., Larreina, D., Le Bourdonnec, F. X., ... Petraglia, M. D. (2021). Earliest known human burial in Africa. Nature, 593(7857), 95-100. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8

Vancouver

Martinón-Torres M, d’Errico F, Santos E, Álvaro Gallo A, Amano N, Archer W et al. Earliest known human burial in Africa. Nature. 2021 May 5;593(7857):95-100. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8

Author

Martinón-Torres, María ; d’Errico, Francesco ; Santos, Elena ; Álvaro Gallo, Ana ; Amano, Noel ; Archer, William ; Armitage, Simon J. ; Arsuaga, Juan Luis ; Bermúdez de Castro, José María ; Blinkhorn, James ; Crowther, Alison ; Douka, Katerina ; Dubernet, Stéphan ; Faulkner, Patrick ; Fernández-Colón, Pilar ; Kourampas, Nikos ; González García, Jorge ; Larreina, David ; Le Bourdonnec, François Xavier ; MacLeod, George ; Martín-Francés, Laura ; Massilani, Diyendo ; Mercader, Julio ; Miller, Jennifer M. ; Ndiema, Emmanuel ; Notario, Belén ; Pitarch Martí, Africa ; Prendergast, Mary E. ; Queffelec, Alain ; Rigaud, Solange ; Roberts, Patrick ; Shoaee, Mohammad Javad ; Shipton, Ceri ; Simpson, Ian ; Boivin, Nicole ; Petraglia, Michael D. / Earliest known human burial in Africa. In: Nature. 2021 ; Vol. 593, No. 7857. pp. 95-100.

BibTeX

@article{002c882cc70b47939bf2e5efb455252f,
title = "Earliest known human burial in Africa",
abstract = "The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa. Here, we describe the partial skeleton of a c. 2.5-3.0 year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 ka, recovered in the MSA layers of Panga ya Saidi (PYS), a cave site in the tropical upland coast of Kenya. Recent excavations revealed a pit feature containing a child in a flexed position. Geochemical, granulometric and micromorphological analyses of the burial pit content and encasing archaeological layers indicate that the feature was deliberatly excavated. Taphonomical evidence such as the strict articulation or good anatomical association of the skeletal elements and histological evidence of putrefaction support the in-place decomposition of a fresh body. Absent to minimal displacement of the unstable joints during decomposition points to an interment in a filled space (grave earth) making the PYS finding the oldest human burial in Africa. The morphological assessment of the partial skeleton is consistent with its assignment to H. sapiens, although the preservation of some primitive features in the dentition supports increasing evidence for non-gradual accretion of modern traits during the emergence of our species. The PYS burial sheds new light on how MSA populations interacted with the dead.",
author = "Mar{\'i}a Martin{\'o}n-Torres and Francesco d{\textquoteright}Errico and Elena Santos and {{\'A}lvaro Gallo}, Ana and Noel Amano and William Archer and Armitage, {Simon J.} and Arsuaga, {Juan Luis} and {Berm{\'u}dez de Castro}, {Jos{\'e} Mar{\'i}a} and James Blinkhorn and Alison Crowther and Katerina Douka and St{\'e}phan Dubernet and Patrick Faulkner and Pilar Fern{\'a}ndez-Col{\'o}n and Nikos Kourampas and {Gonz{\'a}lez Garc{\'i}a}, Jorge and David Larreina and {Le Bourdonnec}, {Fran{\c c}ois Xavier} and George MacLeod and Laura Mart{\'i}n-Franc{\'e}s and Diyendo Massilani and Julio Mercader and Miller, {Jennifer M.} and Emmanuel Ndiema and Bel{\'e}n Notario and {Pitarch Mart{\'i}}, Africa and Prendergast, {Mary E.} and Alain Queffelec and Solange Rigaud and Patrick Roberts and Shoaee, {Mohammad Javad} and Ceri Shipton and Ian Simpson and Nicole Boivin and Petraglia, {Michael D.}",
note = "Funding Information: Acknowledgements Funding for this project was provided by the SEALINKS project under a European Research Council (ERC) grant (no. 206148) and the Max Planck Society (to N.B.). Funding for the hominin analyses was from the Direcci{\'o}n General de Investigaci{\'o}n of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovaci{\'o}n y Universidades, grant numbers PGC2018-093925-B-C31 and C33 (MCI/AEI/FEDER, UE) and The Leakey Foundation, through the personal support of G. Getty (2013) and D. Crook (2014-2020) to M.M.-T.; analyses were also carried out at the laboratories of the CENIEH-ICTS with the support of the CENIEH staff. E.S. has a Ram{\'o}n Areces/ Atapuerca Foundation postdoctoral grant. L.M.-F. is a beneficiary of an Atapuerca Foundation postdoctoral grant. S.J.A. and F.d{\textquoteright}E. acknowledge support from the Research Council of Norway, through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) (no. 262618). F.d{\textquoteright}E. was funded by the ERC grant TRACSYMBOLS (no. 249587), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-10-LABX-52), LaScArBx Cluster of Excellence, and the Talents programme of the University of Bordeaux, Initiative d{\textquoteright}Excellence. A.P.M. was funded by the Beatriu de Pin{\'o}s postdoctoral programme (2017 BP-A 00046) of the Government of Catalonia{\textquoteright}s Secretariat for Universities & Research of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge. We thank B. Kimeu for the extraction of Mtoto in the field, N. Blegen for conducting the digital work in the field, R. Blasco for insights about taphonomy, R. Garc{\'i}a and P. Saladi{\'e} for assisting in anatomical identification, S. Sarmiento for the tooth photographs and M. O{\textquoteright}Reilly for assisting with graphic design. We thank G. Musuko and family for permission to excavate the site. Permission to conduct the research was granted by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya through affiliation with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). We are grateful for the support of the NMK administration, staff from the preparation and archaeology section, and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Publisher Copyright: {\textcopyright} 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.",
year = "2021",
month = may,
day = "5",
doi = "10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8",
language = "English",
volume = "593",
pages = "95--100",
journal = "Nature",
issn = "0028-0836",
publisher = "NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP",
number = "7857",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Earliest known human burial in Africa

AU - Martinón-Torres, María

AU - d’Errico, Francesco

AU - Santos, Elena

AU - Álvaro Gallo, Ana

AU - Amano, Noel

AU - Archer, William

AU - Armitage, Simon J.

AU - Arsuaga, Juan Luis

AU - Bermúdez de Castro, José María

AU - Blinkhorn, James

AU - Crowther, Alison

AU - Douka, Katerina

AU - Dubernet, Stéphan

AU - Faulkner, Patrick

AU - Fernández-Colón, Pilar

AU - Kourampas, Nikos

AU - González García, Jorge

AU - Larreina, David

AU - Le Bourdonnec, François Xavier

AU - MacLeod, George

AU - Martín-Francés, Laura

AU - Massilani, Diyendo

AU - Mercader, Julio

AU - Miller, Jennifer M.

AU - Ndiema, Emmanuel

AU - Notario, Belén

AU - Pitarch Martí, Africa

AU - Prendergast, Mary E.

AU - Queffelec, Alain

AU - Rigaud, Solange

AU - Roberts, Patrick

AU - Shoaee, Mohammad Javad

AU - Shipton, Ceri

AU - Simpson, Ian

AU - Boivin, Nicole

AU - Petraglia, Michael D.

N1 - Funding Information: Acknowledgements Funding for this project was provided by the SEALINKS project under a European Research Council (ERC) grant (no. 206148) and the Max Planck Society (to N.B.). Funding for the hominin analyses was from the Dirección General de Investigación of the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, grant numbers PGC2018-093925-B-C31 and C33 (MCI/AEI/FEDER, UE) and The Leakey Foundation, through the personal support of G. Getty (2013) and D. Crook (2014-2020) to M.M.-T.; analyses were also carried out at the laboratories of the CENIEH-ICTS with the support of the CENIEH staff. E.S. has a Ramón Areces/ Atapuerca Foundation postdoctoral grant. L.M.-F. is a beneficiary of an Atapuerca Foundation postdoctoral grant. S.J.A. and F.d’E. acknowledge support from the Research Council of Norway, through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, SFF Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour (SapienCE) (no. 262618). F.d’E. was funded by the ERC grant TRACSYMBOLS (no. 249587), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-10-LABX-52), LaScArBx Cluster of Excellence, and the Talents programme of the University of Bordeaux, Initiative d’Excellence. A.P.M. was funded by the Beatriu de Pinós postdoctoral programme (2017 BP-A 00046) of the Government of Catalonia’s Secretariat for Universities & Research of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge. We thank B. Kimeu for the extraction of Mtoto in the field, N. Blegen for conducting the digital work in the field, R. Blasco for insights about taphonomy, R. García and P. Saladié for assisting in anatomical identification, S. Sarmiento for the tooth photographs and M. O’Reilly for assisting with graphic design. We thank G. Musuko and family for permission to excavate the site. Permission to conduct the research was granted by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya through affiliation with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). We are grateful for the support of the NMK administration, staff from the preparation and archaeology section, and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

PY - 2021/5/5

Y1 - 2021/5/5

N2 - The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa. Here, we describe the partial skeleton of a c. 2.5-3.0 year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 ka, recovered in the MSA layers of Panga ya Saidi (PYS), a cave site in the tropical upland coast of Kenya. Recent excavations revealed a pit feature containing a child in a flexed position. Geochemical, granulometric and micromorphological analyses of the burial pit content and encasing archaeological layers indicate that the feature was deliberatly excavated. Taphonomical evidence such as the strict articulation or good anatomical association of the skeletal elements and histological evidence of putrefaction support the in-place decomposition of a fresh body. Absent to minimal displacement of the unstable joints during decomposition points to an interment in a filled space (grave earth) making the PYS finding the oldest human burial in Africa. The morphological assessment of the partial skeleton is consistent with its assignment to H. sapiens, although the preservation of some primitive features in the dentition supports increasing evidence for non-gradual accretion of modern traits during the emergence of our species. The PYS burial sheds new light on how MSA populations interacted with the dead.

AB - The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa. Here, we describe the partial skeleton of a c. 2.5-3.0 year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 ka, recovered in the MSA layers of Panga ya Saidi (PYS), a cave site in the tropical upland coast of Kenya. Recent excavations revealed a pit feature containing a child in a flexed position. Geochemical, granulometric and micromorphological analyses of the burial pit content and encasing archaeological layers indicate that the feature was deliberatly excavated. Taphonomical evidence such as the strict articulation or good anatomical association of the skeletal elements and histological evidence of putrefaction support the in-place decomposition of a fresh body. Absent to minimal displacement of the unstable joints during decomposition points to an interment in a filled space (grave earth) making the PYS finding the oldest human burial in Africa. The morphological assessment of the partial skeleton is consistent with its assignment to H. sapiens, although the preservation of some primitive features in the dentition supports increasing evidence for non-gradual accretion of modern traits during the emergence of our species. The PYS burial sheds new light on how MSA populations interacted with the dead.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85105357975&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8

DO - 10.1038/s41586-021-03457-8

M3 - Article

C2 - 33953416

AN - SCOPUS:85105357975

VL - 593

SP - 95

EP - 100

JO - Nature

JF - Nature

SN - 0028-0836

IS - 7857

ER -