Tue Dec 18, 2012, 08:56 PM
Liberal_in_LA (37,950 posts)
Ancient Bones That Tell a Story of Compassion
Almost all the other skeletons at the site, south of Hanoi and about 15 miles from the coast, lie straight. Burial 9, as both the remains and the once living person are known, was laid to rest curled in the fetal position. When Ms. Tilley, a graduate student in archaeology, and Dr. Oxenham, a professor, excavated and examined the skeleton in 2007 it became clear why. His fused vertebrae, weak bones and other evidence suggested that he lies in death as he did in life, bent and crippled by disease.
They gathered that he became paralyzed from the waist down before adolescence, the result of a congenital disease known as Klippel-Feil syndrome. He had little, if any, use of his arms and could not have fed himself or kept himself clean. But he lived another 10 years or so.
They concluded that the people around him who had no metal and lived by fishing, hunting and raising barely domesticated pigs, took the time and care to tend to his every need.
And earlier this year, in proposing what she calls a “bioarchaeology of care,” Ms. Tilley wrote that this field of study “has the potential to provide important — and possibly unique — insights into the lives of those under study.” In the case of Burial 9, she says, not only does his care indicate tolerance and cooperation in his culture, but suggests that he himself had a sense of his own worth and a strong will to live. Without that, she says, he could not have stayed alive.
4 replies, 685 views
Ancient Bones That Tell a Story of Compassion (Original post)
Response to Skittles (Reply #2)
Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:49 PM
roguevalley (35,805 posts)
3. our ancestors were wonderful too. I am always
in awe of this stuff. Well done, Skittles. you are one of the reasons tonight isn't all shit at my house.
Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)
Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:03 AM
starroute (12,329 posts)
4. There are no such thing as "primitive people" -- all people are the same
There aren't even "primitive" cultures -- all cultures are equally complex in their own ways. Those that are technologically simpler often have far greater complexity in their social customs and languages than ours does.
And compassion is not some modern invention. Humans everywhere feel just as deeply and do as much as they can for those they love as their material resources allow.