Hammering

It is clear from the archaeological record that meat—fat or muscle or other tissue—on the bone was not the only part of the body that was consumed. Braincases were broken open, and marrow was often removed from long bones. In these two examples, stone hammers split the upper arm bones lengthwise, exposing the marrow.

It remains much more difficult to establish why cannibalism took place than to establish that it did.

in southwestern Colorado. The same pattern of findings that had been documented at other sites, such as Mancos, was present: disarticulated, broken, scattered human bones in nonburial contexts. Excellent preservation, careful excavation and thoughtful sampling provided a chemical dimension to the analysis and, finally, direct evidence of human cannibalism.

Marlar and his colleagues discovered residues of human myoglobin—a protein present in heart and skeletal muscle—on a ceramic vessel, suggesting that human flesh had been cooked in the pot. An unburned human coprolite, or ancient feces, found in the fireplace of one of the abandoned dwellings also tested positive for human myoglobin. Thus, osteological, archaeological and biochemical data indicate that prehistoric cannibalism occurred at Cowboy Wash. The biochemical data for processing and consumption of human tissue offer strong additional support for numerous osteological and archaeological findings across the Southwest.

Understanding Cannibalism

IT REMAINS MUCH more challenging to establish why cannibalism took place than to establish that it did. People usually eat because they are hungry, and most prehistoric cannibals were therefore probably hungry. But discerning more than that—such as whether the taste of human flesh was pleasing or whether can-

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