July 7, 2021
Men and women living in West Central Africa 500 years ago dramatically changed their looks by removing their front teeth, ancient skulls reveal. Archaeologists found the centuries-old altered skulls deep underground in a cave that could be reached only by rope, through a hole in the cavern’s roof.
The harrowing vertical drop of 82 feet (25 meters) led to thousands of bones from at least 24 adults (men and women age 15 or older) and four children that were deposited there on at least two occasions, researchers reported in a new study. Hundreds of metal artifacts — jewelry, weapons and hoes, made of local iron and imported copper — lay near the remains, hinting at the wealth and status of the people who were buried there.