London: A 9,000-year-old human bone found in a cave in Devon, UK, may prove that early Britons were cannibals.
According to a report by Sky News, the human arm bone was fractured and had seven cut marks made by a stone tool.
Scientists believe they show flesh had been removed from it.
They think that because the markings are in the same place, they would have been used to remove muscle from the bone while it was still “fresh”.
“There are intentional cut marks on there, and it seems the bone has been intentionally split,” Dr Rick Schulting, of the School of Archaeology at Oxford University, said.
“These two together can raise the possibility of cannibalism. The location of the fracture is where the cut would be made if dismemberment had taken place,” he added.
The bone fragment was taken from Kent’s Cavern and is being kept at Torquay Museum, where it will be on display until September 6.
Dr Schulting said that the marks and fracture were not common in British prehistory, which made the bone “particularly interesting”.
“This may only be a single bone, but it has already shown us something about mortuary practices, and the possibility of cannibalism,” he said.
It is hoped more bones from Kent’s Cavern will be examined for further examples of cannibalism.
In Somerset, archaeologists believe they may have also found evidence of cannibalism after studying human remains found in Cheddar Gorge.