Archaeologists digging in Alaska uncovered the remains of two infants that had been buried during the Ice Age.
One of the young was a fetus in its late stages of development, and the other was a newborn that had survived for only a short time.
Both were found in the same grave and surrounded by artifacts believed to be burial offerings.
Those included arrowheads and incised antler fragments said to be some of the oldest examples of their kind ever found in North America.
The two infants were discovered in 2013 at the same site where another child’s remains were found in 2010. Carbon dating put all their burials at over 11 thousand years ago.
While the discovery is significant because it involves the youngest humans of that period ever found in the northern reaches of the continent, the gravesite at large also offers insights into the funerary rituals of early humans.
As they had no written language, very little is known about how their society was organized, what they endured to stay alive, and how they went about dealing with death.
The find could also alter current Ice Age mortality rate estimates, as the infants died during the summer, a time of greater nutritional abundance and fewer environmental challenges.
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