Topic ID #9650 - posted 3/2/2011 3:24 AM

New Death Ritual Found in Himalaya—27 De-fleshed Humans

Jennifer Palmer

New Death Ritual Found in Himalaya—27 De-fleshed Humans
In high cliffside caves, explorers find 1,500-year-old bones.

Ker Than
for National Geographic News
Published March 1, 2011

The remains of 27 ancient men, women, and children have been found in cliffside caves in Nepal. Many of the bones bear cut marks that point to a previously unknown Himalayan death ritual, experts say.

The corpses—many of which had been stripped of flesh—were placed in the high mortuaries some 1,500 years ago, the team announced Friday.

Nearly 67 percent of the bodies' had been defleshed, most likely with a metal knife, say the researchers, who found the remains in 2010.

After the de-fleshing process, the corpses had been neatly laid to rest on wide wooden shelves, the researchers speculate. But due to centuries of exposure to the elements, the bones and bunks—and much of the caves themselves—had collapsed by the time the team entered the chambers.

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