ONE day in 1922, near Broken Hill, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a skull was found. When it came to the attention of the British Museum, the curators were pleased.
It was, in fact, a Neanderthal skull, and Neanderthal bones did not exactly come ten-a-penny.
the Broken Hill skull was special for other reasons. On the left side
of the cranium was a small, perfectly round hole. At first it was
assumed that it had been made by a spear, or other sharp implement, but
further investigation proved that this had not been the case.
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.
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. But what?
mystery was that the right side of the cranium had, in the words of one
anthropologist, “been blown away”. Further research also proved that
that the right side of the cranium had been “blown away” from the inside
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