Table 1 Cases of human bone modification (from archaeological and ethnographic literature).
PeriodSiteArtifactsBone elementIntention/interpretationReferences
Upper PaleolithicGough’s Cave,
England
CupCraniumSkull-cup production in
combination with cannibalism
(47)
Le Placard Cave, FranceCupCraniumSkull-cup production(48, 49)
Isturitz, FranceCupCraniumSkull-cup production(50)
Mesolithic-NeolithicLepenski Vir, SerbiaNotation systemLong boneMarking or counting
a series of events
(51)
NeolithicHeilbronn-Klingenberg,
Germany
Sharpening
of diaphysis
Long boneProfane tool (paddle) for
smoothing surfaces in clay
vessel production
(4)
Herxheim, GermanyCupCraniumSkull-cup production(52)
EuropeRondellesCraniumAmulet with magical or ritual function(4, 53)
Bronze AgeEuropeRondellesCraniumAmulet with magical or ritual function(53)
El Mirador Cave,
Spain
CupCraniumSkull-cup production in combination
with cannibalism
(54)
Middle AgesTübingen, GermanyFluteLong boneMake music(55)
Buddhist contextsIndia and TibetBowls and drumsSkullParaphernalia for religious ceremonies(56)
Recent
(20th century)
Dayak people,
Borneo
Carved ornaments in
skulls, attachment
of objects with cord
SkullHead-hunting as prestige(57)
Naga people,
India, and Myanmar
Attached horns evoke
hybrid-like appearance
SkullSkulls as human trophies(31)