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Nature volume 114, pages 6365 (12 July 1924) | Download Citation



PALEOLITHIC SKULLS FROM CAVES IN SOMERSET.—Vol. ii. part i. of the Proceedings of the Spelaeological Society of the University of Bristol contains an important communication by Sir Arthur Keith, describing the skulls found in Aveline's Hole, Burring-ton Coombe, Somerset. This cave, as has been shown by excavations carried on by members of the Society, served as a dwelling-place-and as a burial place for man in the closing phase of the Pleistocene period. Of the three skulls described, one is dolichocephalic and two are br achy cephalic. Notwithstanding this difference, Sir Arthur Keith is of the opinion that they belong to the same race, the variation in length-breadth index being negligible in view of the identity of other characters, notably the high-pitched cranial vault. In this respect they compare very closely with the new Solutre crania and the Chancelade skull. Their discovery is peculiarly worthy of note, as no brachycephalic skulls of palaeolithic date have hitherto been found in England. Although they differ in outline very decidedly from the late palaeolithic skulls found both at Of net and Furfoos, yet in absolute length and breadth they show a close correspondence to those from the latter locality, while at least four of the intermediate series from Of net are comparable to them. Sir Arthur Keith regards them as of Azilian date, but Mr. J. A. Davis in his third report on the excavations, which appears in this issue of the proceedings, holds rather that the Aveline's Hole culture represents an isolated survival of Aurignacian into the late Magdalenian times, to which the occurrence of a typical harpoon, previously reported, seems to point.

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