Skull shown in-situ prior to excavation

Hereditary or Head-Binding? Archaeologist Seeks Answers on the Strange Achavanich Beaker Burial

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Harman’s report on the Highland Council’s website says that the beaker contained: “prepared cereal grain, honey, added flowers and fruit (including meadowsweet, bramble & wood sage), and the sap of birch and alder trees.”

The decorated beaker found at the Achavanich Beaker burial.

The decorated beaker found at the Achavanich Beaker burial. ( M. Hoole )

If the potential abnormalities in Ava’s skull are not enough, Hoole may be looking for more controversy as she has said that she is not interested in just a cold, analytical consideration of the burial. “Although potentially a controversial decision, I want people to remember that this is not just a cluster of bones, but that she was once a human being, with a name, an identity and a place in a long lost community.”

The community to which Ava belonged may be of a great advantage to Hoole in raising awareness of the burial. The Beaker people are named as such for their distinctive pottery style. It is said that they made “some of the loveliest prehistoric objects ever to be found in Britain.”

Furthermore, the Beaker people are believed to have been a sociable group of people that “mixed with any new culture they encountered.” They are also known for having different shaped skulls than their Stone Age ancestors, though the reason for this remains a point of debate.

Featured Image: Skull shown in-situ prior to excavation. Source: M. Hoole

By Alicia McDermott

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