CARE FOR THE DISABLED
And now for happier news from antiquity. In Russia, at the sonamed Sungir archæological site, about 200km (124 miles) east of Moscow, are burials dating back about 34,000 years (Upper Palæolithic). They represent one of the earliest records of modern Homo sapiens in Europe. Of particular interest is the burial of two young boys, aged about 10 and 12. They were interred head-to-head and accompanied by an extraordinarily rich array of grave goods, including carved artwork, over 10,000 mammoth ivory beads, more than 20 armbands, about 300 pierced fox teeth, 16 ivory mammoth spears, and deer antlers (two human lower leg bones were also placed across the boys’ chests). According to an analysis of their dental enamel, both boys experienced repeated periods of extreme stress. The 10-year-old’s thighbones are described as “exceptionally bowed and short”’, but he would nevertheless have been physically mobile. The 12-year-old’s teeth surprisingly had almost no wear, rare for dental conditions in that era. Analyses of his skeleton indicate that he was bedridden. It seems he was being cared for and fed soft foods, such as soups and cereals. While these kids were buried like veritable kings, the 10 adult burials at the site contained nowhere near such rich grave goods – indeed, some had none. LiveScience, 13 Feb 2018.