Neolithic arrowhead points to Britain's first murder


A pile of skeletons exhibited in a box with a glass lid in a small museum in the British Midlands could be evidence of one of the earliest murders in Britain, if not the oldest.

The skeletons of a man and woman as well as a child buried with them do not attract great attention at first glance among other very interesting artifacts and objects at the Peterborough Museum.

But on closer inspection, one could clearly see that the man's skeleton has a leaf-shaped arrowhead between his ribs, a strong clue to the cause of this Neolithic age man's death thousands of years ago.

The burial site of this group of people, whom are thought to be a family interred some 5,000-6,000 years ago, was first discovered at the Fengate archeological site, 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) east of Peterborough.

The site, known as Flag Fen, was first discovered in 1982 by eminent British archeologist Francis Pryor, who specializes in Bronze and Iron Age Britain.

Also the earliest human remains to have been excavated in the Peterborough area, the family members are thought to be the victims of the earliest murders in Britain. A baby skeleton, which was also found in the grave, is not exhibited for preservation purposes.

Even Sherlock Holmes would be hard pressed to learn the full story of the deaths of the unlucky prehistoric couple, estimated to have been 25-30 years old when they met their end. But the Peterborough Museum exhibit presents the remains as the first known murder in Britain.

In the Paleolithic to Neolithic age, between 4,500 BC and 2,500 BC, people started using stone tools they made by chipping harder stones.

Axes, knives, and arrowheads first started to be used in the Neolithic age.

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