Prehistoric Skulls with Bullet-Like Holes

The Enigma of the Prehistoric Skulls with Bullet-Like Holes


Nearly one century ago, a Swiss miner was searching for metal ore deposits in the limestone caves of Kabwe, Zambia, when he found an ancient skull that dated back to between 125,000 and 300,000 years. It was the first fossil to be discovered in Africa with Homo sapiens characteristics. But there was an even bigger surprise – the skull had a small, circular shaped hole on the side, which forensic scientists say could only have been created by an extremely high-velocity projectile, such as that caused by a bullet.  The mystery was compounded by the discovery of an ancient auroch skull with exactly the same feature. The discoveries have led to many wild and wonderful speculations, but we are really no closer to solving the puzzle.

The skull found in Kabwe (also known as Broken Hill) attracted a great deal of attention when it was first discovered. According to the Smithsonian Institution , it was initially believed that the Kabwe skull was the first ever example of a new species of hominid called Homo rhodesiensis.  It was subsequently assigned the classification of Homo heidelbergensis, although more recent research has shown that several characteristics shown similarities to Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and modern Homo sapiens. Whoever the skull belonged to, it appears he/she may have been the product of interbreeding between different hominid species.

But its unique combination of features was not all that was unique about the Kabwe skull. It was also found to have a small, perfectly-round hole on the left side of the cranium, as well as a shattered parietal plate on the opposite side. This suggests the projectile that entered on the left side, passed through the skull with such force that it completely shattered the right side. Strangely, the presence of these highly-unusual characteristics are missing from descriptions of the Kabwe skull on the Smithsonian page, as well the Natural History Museum of London, although their photos clearly depict the hole in the skull.

Broken Hill/Kabwe skull with bullet like holes

A replica of the Broken Hill/Kabwe skull from the Museum in Livingstone, Zambia, with the ‘bullet hole’ on he left. Image source .

While it is natural to assume that the hole may have been caused by a high-speed spear or javelin, a recent article in The Shields Gazette explained that investigations proved this was not possible.

“When a skull is struck by a relatively low-velocity projectile – such as an arrow, or spear – it produces what are known as radial cracks or striations; that is, minute hairline fractures running away from the place of impact,” wrote The Shields Gazelle. “As there were no radial fractures on the Neanderthal skull, it was unanimously concluded that the projectile must have had a far, far greater velocity than an arrow or spear.”

According to the book ‘ Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients ’ by David Hatcher Childress, a German forensics expert made an even more radical conclusion – “the cranial damage to Rhodesian man’s skull could not have been caused by anything but a bullet”. Researcher Rene Noorbergen, who investigated the mystery in ‘ Secrets Of The Lost Races ’, concurred, saying that “this same feature is seen in modern victims of head wounds received from shots from a high-powered rifle.”

If this were true, it would mean that a) the skull is not as old as claimed, b) the ancient skull was shot in modern times, c) the ancient skull was shot in ancient times by a technologically advanced civilization. The first and second options are discounted by the fact that the skull was found 60 feet below the surface, which confirms that it is at least several thousand years old, and was not exposed near the ground to have been accidently or intentionally shot in recent decades.  Does that just leave us with the third option, or could there be other explanations in the mix?

Before exploring other hypotheses, we must give consideration to another skull discovery which further compounds the mystery. Thousands of miles away, along the Lena River in Russia, another ancient skull was discovered with the same clean, round hole. The skull belonged to an auroch, an extinct species of wile cattle that lived between 2 million and 4,000 years ago. Like the Kabwe skull, the hole in the auroch skull is also missing radial cracks that would result from spear or arrow projectiles.

Auroch skull with bullet-like hole

Auroch skull with bullet-like hole in the forehead. Image source: Technology of the Gods: The Incredible Sciences of the Ancients

The skull, which is now on display in Moscow’s Museum of Palaeontology, could not have been struck by a bullet in more modern times because calcification around the bullet hole shows that the auroch survived the wound for some time afterwards.

All these pieces of the puzzle have really brought us no closer to learning the truth. Numerous hypotheses and speculations have surfaced, from radical theories, such as the idea proposed by The Shields Gazette that “someone from the future, carrying a firearm, travelled back into the past and engaged in some sort of trans-temporal hunting expedition”, to the slightly more plausible suggestion that the holes were caused by shrapnel from a small meteorite or something similar. 

In alternative archaeology circles, the most popular perspective is that ancient man may have been technologically developed to a very high degree, before virtually all traces were lost. But could two separate societies, separated by thousands of years and a vast cultural gulf, have both invented weapons that just happened to fire small, cylindrical projectiles at high speed?

The only lukewarm attempt to debunk the alternative theories comes from the Bad Archaeology website, which denies the injuries to the right-side of the skull exist, although this is without explanation or evidence.  Instead they claim that the bullet-like hole was caused by “a pathological, rather than a traumatic lesion, caused by an infection in the soft tissue over it”.

At this stage, none of the hypotheses are supported by adequate evidence or logic, and unless more fossils are discovered with the same type of injuries, we may never hold the real answers to this enigma.

Featured image: The Kabwe Skull with bullet-like hole. Image Credit: Jim Di Loreto and Don Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution

By April Holloway


Yes, I fully agree. We as Christians must reject any evidence that our God isn't real. Including but not limited to, character assassination and physical attacks on anyone presenting or bearing the evidence against our belief system. Only deadly force will save our dying religion and ensure that Christianity remains as a controlling and dominating form of political control over the masses to keep them ignorant so we can rule over them with absolute brutality just like Jesus intended the ruling class to do.

This time I will agree with Bad Archaeology's reasoning about the wound being created by some disease or infection as it does look like a worm-hole. In case of human skull, it might have been some flesh and bone eating worm that caused it after his death while in the case of auroch, it might have been during his life or while he was dying. It can also be some kind of biological weapon that triggered-off the infection considering the position of the wounds.

One event in question was called the Younger Dryas Catastrope theory or event. That was the most recent human/animal extinction event which happened about 12.500 years ago and ended the ice age. But what you really want to look at is the 71,000 year old mass extinction event that reduced humans down to about 2,000 mated pairs which we all descended from. This one is called the Toba Catastrophe theory which according to 2nd generation remote viewers from the Farsight Institute was caused by technologically advanced human activity. This skull is likely from that time period where modern humans were hunting primitive man with firearms.

Your Concept is very Rational. I think Early Man was forced to start over many times throughout history. I think there were many Migrations to all Continents. I base this theory on the fact that we are about to do the very same thing again. We advance Technology in the drive for gluttony and then screw ourselves right back in to the Stone Age again. It is a Cycle that has been happening for Hundreds of thousands of years and is only regulated in time by the Cycles Of Interglacials and Glacials.

I believe callHohno is correct. There is much more than just these skulls to base the conclusion on. We now know that under certain circumstances coal can begin to form in as little as 10,000 years. Research objects found in coal fields hundreds of feet down. The earth is subjecected to a daily barrage of dust from elsewhere in the galaxy and it expands at a constant rate of about 1/8 inch per year. This means any traces of a civilization from the time of Homo Sapiens Idaltu (Herto dig) or the Omo finds would be about 1,000 feet down underfoot, so of course we don't notice it. We now know we are NOT descended from Homo Erectus (Neanderthal), because we co existed with them and other members of genus Homo. Human bones are thin and flimsy so the odds of finding many more ancient human bones from that era or earlier are slim. But look down beneath us.

The things they find in coal mines are from that depth, and what do they find? Iron hammers with wood shafts turning to coal, intricately carved hand bells from areas on Earth where there should have been no such items found, coins minted made of an unknown alloy mix with the likeness of unknown kings and queens with inscriptions in no known language. Even in North America a concrete wall half a mile long, and 6 feet high and 600 feet below the Earth;s surface. Conclusion: Long, long before the fable of Noah and even that of Adam, Man walked the Earth. Our species had a medieval civilization with coin money and iron. It is quite logical to imagine the 'secret' of gun powder had been discovered in one land or another. It is just a powder mix and possible to discover by accident (as even in our era it was in China). We know somethings about their state of firearms technology. Read some books by Elmer Keith or John 'Pondoro' Taylor both of whom fired a lot of guns into a lot of living things. Wild steer and buffalo are hard to kill with a head shot. The brain is small and the bone is thick. It isn't uncommon to need more than one shot least the animal kill you first. What the article fails to mention about the Auroch skull is that when it was shaken in Moscow a small lead pellet fell out (this article is not the first one I have seen about that find). The skull of the half breed (Neanderthal and Human) holds no mystery to me. I have some small experience with such things. The skull didn't blow out on the other side because it was a low power handgun bullet. Not a military weapon. Something low powered analagous to the old black powder 32 short or .380 Rook round or the more modern .25acp round. From a handgun all of those will penetrate a skull but often do not blow out the other side. Even in today's world there are humans who have (briefly) survived such a wound from small caliber pistols if medical care is quick to arrive. We know the shooter was probably at least 10 feet away (not a hard shot with the smaller calibers) because there are no stellite fractures (which are usually caused by muzzle gas entering with the bullet). What you have hear is an execution attempt. The victim lived maybe a month (but of course was never right after that) or maybe 6. Forget the Noah myths. That was a local event. Contrary to the wishes of the Bible thumpers there is no sign of such a world wide flood occurring on other contitnents in the 7,000 year old Noah period. LoL, where would the water for that come from anyway to cover even the Alps, the Himilayas and the Rockies all at the same time? No something else nearly eliminated our species world wide. Something a flourishing medieval type civilization that forged iron and had gun powder was helpless against. An event mostly targeting members of the Genus Homo because ours is the only Homo species surviving it. My speculation would be whatever the event was, it was about 80,000 years ago.
We survived but barely. I am imagining little pockets of 5 or 10 people scattered around the globe. They tried to hang on to what they had, but the infrastructure no longer existed. One by one each human outpost slipped back into making flint arrowheads, obsidon knives and burning their manuscripts for fire wood when the last person who knew how to read them had died. I am thinking 30,000 years ago we were probably down to just 5 or 6 pockets of humanity. Eventually, Mesopotamia, Sumeria and the rise to civilization started again from scratch. Who knows, maybe 70,000 years from now after it happens again future members of clan Homo (if any survive will wonder about the things we leave behind 400 feet down and if the presence of the Lunar Landing module on the moon is proof of a prior civilization, or did a God or a space alien leave it there?


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