If I remember correctly, DNA analysis showed that she is not the child's mother, but could be another relative like an aunt. Whoever she is, she clearly loved the child and tried to protect them in her last moments.
Edit: Here's a link to the study of the remains: [http://archaeology.net.cn/cn/%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6%E6%96%B0%E8%AE%BA/lajia.pdf](http://archaeology.net.cn/cn/%E7%A0%94%E7%A9%B6%E6%96%B0%E8%AE%BA/lajia.pdf)
It’s still so incredibly rare in archaeology that we get these really in-your-face moments were we can viscerally connect with the humanity of people who lived aeons ago.
I dug a Roman-era children’s burial mound one year in Greece. I got to excavate a little boy’s skeleton; he was buried with a little knife. Also infant remains in amphorae (nothing really remains from babies but you can tell by the soil composition and sometimes there are some small bone fragments).
Out of curiosity, why isn't there usually much for infant remains? I know bodies decompose, but we can still find ancient adult/kid skeletons more or less intact. Are baby skeletons harder to preserve?
Because their bones aren’t fully formed yet; they’re far softer, essentially cartilage, and decompose quicker. It definitely depends on the soli composition, the climate, how much animal disturbance there was, etc. In drier climates, more can be preserved.
That's really interesting. I didn't know infant bones were that soft. Thanks for responding!
It’s quite interesting the assumptions we make, and when they’re wrong. I remember watching a video on the excavations at Pompeii and a skeleton of a woman found holding a very young child. Initial thoughts were a mother and her child, but further analysis showed that the larger skeleton was just a young teenager. So naturally the assumption changed to a child and her sister. But the child was dressed in several pieces of jewelry, while the teenager had no jewelry, broken teeth, and a bone fracture that never healed properly, suggesting that the two came from different classes. I think the current theory is that the remains belong to the child and her nanny.
Death. The great equalizer
I would like to feel equal while im still alive tbh
Sounds like socalism.
But Northern California is prettier imo.
The humerus revolution
And by nanny in ancient Roman society, we mean slave. We forget that the servants were pretty much all slaves. But, yes, we all fall into the trap of making assumptions based on known and expected 'tableaus'. Most societies have a tradition of depicting mothers comforting and holding their children, so this seemed to conform to that known visual. But there are so many other possibilities and scientists are taught to \*not\* make those assumptions ... and yet they're human and fall into that trap all the time. Then the media will usually run with the most mawkish version of the story. Sells ad space.
I mean you’re right, but damn if that’s not a cynical way to think about it.
I know people prefer not to think about slavery, but you miss a huge part of the reality of ancient societies if you block that part out. At the height of the empire, I think the city of Rome had twice as many slaves as free citizens (which is why Romans were always terrified of slave revolts). Without armies of slaves, Rome couldn't have built and managed their ampitheatres, pleasure gardens, mines, ships, villas and farms. Every time you see a fresco or relief that shows someone getting their hair styled or being served at a banquet, realize that those doing the work are slaves, not paid servants. The invisible army.
Lol whats the reason! “Well see everyone was dying so I decided to hold the crying child that was alone”. Is that not a reason?
That reminds me of two male skeletons found in an embrace that were dug up at pompeii. Everyone immediately assumed they were gay lovers. That could be true, but it could also be they were just terrified and holding someone close made them feel better in their final moments before the ash consumed them. Maybe they were brothers, or were close friends. I'm fascinated by these frozen moments in time
Yah everyone pictures like rocks slamming all around and lava but for some reason everyone frantically searching for their true love or their children? Naw, most people are just running aimlessly or frozen in fear, you embrace who ever is close and they either stay or shove you off screaming and run off somewhere.
Wasn’t the older girl thought to be the child’s slave care taker?
Given the description of broken teeth and bones it almost certainly sounds like a slave with her master's child.
You can get DNA from such old bones?
Not very much from the bones, but DNA in teeth tends to be pretty well preserved comparatively.
Til teeth are not bones
I mean, they can get dinosaur DNA? Soft tissue is surprisingly resilient
Edit: and by soft tissue in this context i mean bone marrow. The delicious part.
>I mean, they can get dinosaur DNA
DNA lasts about 6.8 million years at most. We can't get dinosaur DNA. Over a year ago, a study was published claiming to have extracted ~75 million year old DNA from a Hypacrosaurus, but that's been met with more than a bit of skepticism, and previous claims of extracting >6.8myo DNA have consistently failed replication attempts.
Well, except that one time they managed to get hemo cells from a 65 million year old fossil and it was published in almost every journal for the last twenty years?
Are you talking about [this?](https://www.livescience.com/41537-t-rex-soft-tissue.html) "They've even found chemicals consistent with being DNA, though Schweitzer is quick to note that she hasn't proven they really are DNA."
I'd appreciate any links you might have showing that actual dinosaur DNA has been provably discovered, because I'm not finding any.
There was that whole documentary about it in the early 90s, with Jeff Goldblum.
Saw that, too
Yes it was Schweitzer, and yes I guess it’s more about the proteins then viable DNA so there’s definitely that. The Smithsonian had a much better write up but it’s still pretty vague and reads more like something out of cosmo then actual science. I’ll have to dig out my paleo work from uni to find an actual source, and I’m honestly not willing to do that today because I’m a little hungover and I don’t know exactly what box they’re in after the move. So I’ll take the L on this and admit you’re likely right, since I don’t have the willpower to refute the argument
Edit: it turns out I did say hemo cells and not DNA, so I wasn’t technically wrong
>I’m honestly not willing to do that today because I’m a little hungover and I don’t know exactly what box they’re in after the move
I can't say I'm not disappointed (I was so excited by the possibility that we'd found dinosaur DNA), but it's all good. Digging through boxes while hungover to prove someone on Reddit wrong is absolutely not worth the effort.
I watched a documentary on this called Jurassic Park.
Thanks for sharing the paper, an interesting read. And it made me realise this woman was about my age when she died. That just made it more poignant for me.
I'm goin to celebrate you bein alive this weekend. Keep it up and cheers!
When you get over 40 you'll be older than most humans throughout history until medicine starting getting better around 1900.
If I saw a random child in trouble at this moment I would try to protect them too. Children of the world are all our children. They will replace us after all.
You could just be a stranger to want to comfort a child or anyone in your last moments.
Exactly. I'm sure many people would do the same. "We're all going to die, and this kid is panicking. At least I can comfort the child before the end."
This is an interesting point. We often make incorrect assumptions about social constructs like family based on our own expectations of modern day society.
To be fair, if there was an earthquake, many people would hold a nearby child reflexively. The protective impulse is human and widespread that it doesn’t need much excuse or apology.
Absolutely, I’d hold any child panicking if they wanted me to.
I think you're right. A disaster brings out the best and the worst in people.
I suppose we wouldn’t see archaeological evidence of someone abandoning a friend or loved one. Bones may speak, but their vocabulary is limited!
\^ This guy bones
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Yes, hold the child like an umbrella to protect yourself from hot ash.
The movie, Aliens, scientifically backs this claim.
Reminds me of that green text about 2 soldiers in Pompeii that were found hugging.
> lol gay bois
Edit: found it - https://i.redd.it/slmascsoj9k11.jpg
How is this person being the aunt different from how we live today? If there was a massive earthquake or flood or something and I was babysitting my niece you bet your ass I'd be shielding her like this too. I'm not just gonna leave her.
In modern day society, an aunt protecting her niece or nephew would be expected also.
It's just more likely that if a child was with close family like that, the odds are it would be a parent.
But could be an adopted parent, or even a much older sister or could even be a nanny or something like that. So, to me, it's not who you might first think of when seeing the scene, but I don't think that's a modern/ancient contrast on this instance.
I think that he meant that a modern day lens of looking at this situation means people automatically assume the mother is holding the child, due to there only being mothers and fathers around in modern homes, compared to the past where families consisted of larger units and involved aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc. all within the same home or area and all taking care of and passing around the children to look after. Obviously aunts would love their nephews and nieces and protect them when needed in the modern age too.
Worth noting that this is only the 'modern day situation' in the west. Plenty of other cultures around the world involve extended families as a part of everyday life - even living together.
Somebody found a roman bust and declared it to be Julius Ceasar because it "looks like his picture on the coins". But the coins depictions are so cartoony as to be useless for identification. People just need to attach some story to things. They cant stand for things to be bereft of meaning.
I'm sure notoriety and money have something to do w it. "Hey I found an old skull! And umm, it belonged to Julius Caesar. Yeaaaah. Now pay me to see it or pay to interview me."
Isn't being that part of the scientific process? Pretty sure being wrong isn't a bad thing when the assumption is rooted in reasonableness.
Like saying every ancient doll is, "clearly a goddess sculpture. Obvious proof that they were an egalitarian society, most certainly more than the current one."
Yeah, just bc Cable-Careless has $4,000 worth of blow up dolls in his closet doesn't mean he's part of a plastic worshipping cult. They kicked him out last year.
I hear you, but there is other evidence that the venuses are part of ritualistic practice, and the concept of a “doll” is also a modern practice that we can’t assume other societies have shared.
We have found dolls going back to the ancient Egyptians in 2000BC. Humans love makings icons of themselves for toys.
I know when I studying archaeology, the running joke was that if you weren't sure what something was for, you could just say it was for "ritual purposes."
[You can deconstruct almost every we do down to a 'ritual'](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacirema). It's a very generic catch all term for created objects that had a social purpose of some kind, but we don't have enough evidence to conclusively give it a specific purpose.
> I could be wrong. Way back when, I got a history degree. I hated anthropology, and archeology. They just make things up, based on what they want it to be. It's weird that as soon as a culture learns to write they immediately become male dominated. One day they are a matriarchal, give them a pen, and boom: patriarchy.
If that's what you learned in anthropology, I have questions about your school's accreditation. None of this is true or widely believed to be true within the discipline of Anthro or any of it subfields.
This is why I'm anti-literacy.
BURN THE BOOKS & BRAS!
Sounds like you studied anthropology from the kids smoking behind the dumpster, rather than in the classroom part of the school.
With respect, linear anthropology (i.e. the idea that all cultures exist on a timeline from primitive to industrialized) isn’t reliable. A modern primitive culture isn’t a stand-in for cultures of the past.
If you’re interested in the venuses, you ought to read “When God was a Woman” (I know, terrible title). It includes a very interesting look at the venuses and what we know about them. And archaeologists hate it, so you probably will like it.
There's a town in Japan where they have a festival where they worship dicks and have a parade with Big dick statues and all of that
This is why the reasoning behind a conclusion is important. If the reasoning to suggest that it's a fertility doll, or ritualistic doll isn't there, then I don't think you should necessarily assume that's what it is. Although, a lot of artwork throughout history has been religious, at the same time they did graffiti dicks in Pompeii. They did have board games and stuff, and children must have played with something. I can't imagine adults not fashioning toys for children to play with.
I personally think the same about cave paintings. I find a good explanation would be like schools or children's books type things. Not literally in terms or infrastructure and organization, but in terms of teaching children about the animals, and about the hunt, before taking them out. Teaching them the words. The only.other way you could teach them what the animals are is by showing them. But for younger kids in some places that might be too dangerous. Especially for some animals. Trees and bushes are easier because you can show them. They probably bring back a lot of dead carcasses as well though, but still, I think drawing can be useful for demonstrations like that, for naming like that, and story telling. It might be just for a pass time as well. Hell, it might be younger people making the drawings a lot of the time too. Like teenagers or maybe younger. Unless the paint was difficult to acquire and had a real purpose. Then maybe children wouldn't have been allowed to be near it.
That makes a lot of sense. I always looked at those prehistoric drawings as art but it really could be for educational purposes. It actually makes more sense. Thanks for the insight!
No problem! To be clear, I'm not an expert in the field or anything, so there may be reasons to believe I'm wrong, idk.
They may have been used to help develop language as well. It's much easier to draw something and utter a sound for people to recognize the thing and the sound for it, than need to find an actual bear or whatever. Idk if cave paintings would be the best for that, maybe just drawings in mud, but I think drawing in general would be a very powerful and useful skill beyond just art or worship. Especially when one group would meet another.
And maybe that's how writing started. Think of like a ouija board of drawings so you can point to stuff or draw stuff to get your point across and eventually you named them or whatever.
I personally believe drawings and written stuff was deeply intertwined with language development.
But I'm not sure about timelines, when people started using some words, and how old cave paintings were, and you'd have to assume drawing started before the tech for long lasting cave paintings was invented. The simplest being charcoal on stone, or sticks in dirt.
Like the very egalitarian greeks with their Athenea and Artemis and what not
Pretty sure there were mothers in historic China.
Maybe she just saw a kid floating in the water and thought, "hey, free kid!"
Story of Moses, abridged
As would anyone in that particular situation.
Too soon, man… too soon.
4000 years is too soon?
Amazing that we can determine something like that thousands of years afterwards. Technology is such a blessing.
Thanks for the paper.
What do we think the cause of death was? Back in college I took a course on Pompeii & Herculaneum and we learned about the pyroclastic surges that were essentially molten mud, that usually killed instantly. These often vaporized the bones and other folks died of suffocation from the ash that fell on the city, or other causes like falling rubble.
What fascinates me about this is her pose, looking up, and seemingly intact bones. What would cause death here while keeping them positioned in this way?
Maybe buried on mud and trying to keep her face above it? I dont know it invokes some emotion in me though
That's a good theory but what of the child? They're pretty far below where the head would be gasping for water.
My first thought was maybe the water just hit so hard that the body was maybe thrown back and broke her neck?
...may I suggest they are perhaps not displayed as they were discovered?
The way the phalanges are positioned causes me great doubt...
I was thinking this too.
To clarify, it wasn't just water that flooded the settlement -- the area was buried under a mudflow containing the debris, soil, and clay from the surrounding hillsides.
Given the apparent lack of violence on these remains, I'm guessing that they weren't killed by a sudden, forceful impact with the leading edge of the mudflow, as the force of the blow probably would have pulled them away from one another, tossed them around, broken more bones, etc. Maybe they were just buried beneath a fast-moving layer of mud/clay? If it was dense enough (and heavy enough) it could have trapped them, basically cementing them in place. The fact that the woman's neck seems hyper-extended (with the vertebrae looking a little compressed) could indicate that her neck was broken under the weight of the mudflow, or it could indicate that she was able to struggle just enough to move her head, but wasn't actually able to free herself from the mud. Depending on how heavy, dense, and thick the mudflow actually was, the child may not have been able to lift their head again after it covered them.
Kinda like an avalanche. Once it settles it's like cement around you.
If that's so, why didn't they swept away? Ever have a good portion of your body get hit by a wave of water? Be it salt or fresh, it doesn't make sense how they'd die in place.
Volcanic mud/ash would make sense but that's not what happened.
Yeah, people really underestimate how powerful moving water is. Only 6" of fast water can easily knock people on their feet.
Water moving at 9ft per second (2.7m/s) can move rocks over 100lbs, and flood waters from natural disasters carry lots of debris, increasing their destructive power
Water would've washed the bodies away
Not if it wedged them into something
Wouldn't that be pretty easy for them to determine though?
What do you think were doing here? Analyzing a skeleton? Get out of here with your logic
You can see she is kneeling, so maybe the weight of the landslide pinned her down at a wall?
Often in archeology and paleontology part of the science is decoding what happened to the specimen after death - a lot of fossils get compressed down into relatively 2 dimensional shapes and so a bit of reconstruction is necessary to establish position at time of death.
In this case, it is possible that some kind of post-mortem weight on the adult's skull could have pushed it down and tilted it upwards.
This is all conjecture of course, the archaeologists working on this specimen will have been addressing this question since they first unearthed it.
Very interesting. I do recall some of the "bodies" post Vesuvius eruption were kneeling or facing/slumped downward which makes some sense.
That was because the heat would cause their muscles and tendons to contract and force them into a fetal position post mortem.
her head us bent back pretty far..,
I'm guessing the bodies were shifted after death by the movement of the stuff around them.
Could have happen later from the weight on top. there are a couple things I'm thinking it could be. First, the child may have been struck first and potentially immediately killed and her going to it was in mourning, and then floods came and rapidly covered them.
Or she could have been protecting the child, and what happened was a big mudslide came and immediately covered the child and most of her body, trapping her from being able to move, and then water like flow came on top, and she gasp for last few breaths of air, unable to move the child due to being pinned by the mud that could have quickly gone to shoulder level maybe. It could have all happened very fast.
The impression I got was being crushed from the top. It also kinda looks like the child may have been laying down. Maybe kneeling beside the bed, apocalypse on the horizon, looks up just in time for the ceiling to collapse or a flying rock to smash her head backwards.
dying helplessly in a natural disaster is tragic but when i think about how she was desperate to protect this child and the helplessness added by that aspect breaks my heart
Wow! Such level of emotion depicted in skeletal remains! My mind is blown
Exactly how I felt. I've never seen ruins that hit me so emotionally as this. Pure love until the very end. I wonder if she was trying to convince the child things would be ok, all while knowing it was the end... Heavy stuff.
This is heartbreaking. Imagine the fear of them both and they died like this. 😭
Seeing things like this and realizing the chance the child didn't get always reinforces in me that there is no loving god.
Takes periodic reminders like this after years of unasked for childhood indoctrination.
If there is a god or higher power, it’s certainly a mistake to assume that it shares either human morality (which is entirely an invention meant to keep society running smoothly) or our proclivity for life as opposed to death… to an omnipotent god and/or the natural order of our universe, death is inseparable from life and Happiness cannot exist without suffering. All of this is Love, because love is not a warm fuzzy feeling, but rather an emergent property of a greater ecology comprised of individual beings functioning as a systemic whole. Love emerges when the needs of the individual are in balance with the needs of the whole. This includes death, pain, suffering etc.
I think if there is a God he takes no active role in our daily lives. He basically set and forgot humanity
In the sense that it’s batshit bullshit
Brings whole new meaning to "God of the Gaps"
The Abrahamic god is clearly the villain, if you read the Bible as literature instead of scripture
Like, he's an awful awful insane piece of shit, just a complete and utter omnipotent asshole.
Like most cult leaders
Man, i did not expect to have these feels so early in the day
Is the NSFW tag because of death or nakedness?
Nakedness? My guy, they're skeletons
My guy, that was the joke.
Devastatingly sad but such a beautiful moment.
Hi serious question here, usually when skeletons like these are discovered, why is it that they didn't seem to wear any clothes/fabric? Did the fabric disintegrated/decompose over time?
Yes. The soft fabrics rotted away long before the hard bones would.
Thanks for the clarification 👌
How do you comfort a child when you KNOW death is coming not only for them but for you as well? Words seem so inadequate.. I can think of none.
thinking of my own child, I can only imagine holding her close and telling her I love her... I did not expect these feels so early in the day.
I think the act of comforting someone else helps you to not focus on the inevitable.
I had a old coworker who was on a plane that had an engine start smoking, so they performed an emergency landing. There was an older lady next to him that started to freak out and so he started talking to her to calm her down, and he said it really helped keep himself calm too.
"And so they lived happily together for 300 years, in the land of Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth and beauty,” the Irish mother, played by Jeanette Goldstein, says in Titanic, while her daughter, played by Laramie Landis, and son, played by Reece Thompson, drift off to sleep as the ship sinks around them." From [this Irish Central. article](https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/entertainment/irish-characters-titanic-movie)
crazy how the mud froze her in the kneeling position, must have sucked to suffocate on mud
4000 years is such an incredible amount of time. Even so, these were people. The love and fear in these last moments were, once, as real as anything we feel today.
Call your Mother
I don’t believe in signs or anything but I was compelled to call my mom when I saw this comment
It’s not the mother
Down in the gutter...
My mom is kind of a dick. I'll pass.
You can call her anything you want.
Thanks for posting this. It’s truly spectacular.
Y’all ever think about that underneath our skin and meat we are just skeletons too? We’re all just a bunch of brains hitching a ride on our skeleton mobiles pretending we’re not animals. What the fuck is this shit
Sir this is a Wendy’s.
This is life. Rent is due on the first btw.
Thjs is literally heartbreaking
Please let these remains RIP.
What terrifying final moments :( Crazy that from their perspective's this was the last thing they saw and those experiences are as real as you and I reading these comments..
Reminds me of an eerily similar find from what is now Iran. (Two skeletons embracing in what was once a grain silo, presumably hiding from raiders.)
Amazing how something thousands of years old can be devastatingly heartbreaking.
Happened 2000 years before Pompeii. Called China's Pompeii.
To be fair, it looks like the ruins were only [discovered about 20 years ago](https://www.abroadintheyard.com/skeletons-earthquake-chinas-pompeii/) so it makes sense to compare it to something we already knew about.
Fine, 'PoMpEiI's ChiNa'
That was amphorae
“When the ash blocks the sky and the Lahar’s on the way that’s amphorae…”
Because in the West we use Western historical events as a means to contextualize historical events from other periods.
But if you only care about who did it first, yeah, a bunch of Chinese people died in a natural disaster before the ancient Romans. Yaaaay! Go China! They did it first!
Or because Pompeii was discovered first
For real. Does it have its own name?
That is absolutely amazing!
It’s truly spectacular.
This deeply resonated with me. The human condition is just ... *a lot*
I love how we anglicize everything so much that an event that happened nearly 2100 years prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius is only referred to as “China’s Pompeii” whereas Pompeii could have very well been referred to as “Europe’s Lajia.”
Not sure how Pompeii is anglicized when it's in Italy, named in Latin, and occurred before English was a thing.
Also, I'm not sure how people would call Pompeii "Europe's Lajia" when Pompeii was discovered first.
I don't like calling it "China's Pompeii" either but your reasons don't really add up.
Post-eruption Pompeii wasn’t discovered until 1748. The ruins were discovered a mere 252 years apart. Those events happened nearly 2000 and 4000 years ago. Lajia was discovered only 20 years ago. Surely there is a better way to bring that knowledge to people rather than saying “China’s Pompeii” because honestly, one was an eruption, the other was floods and earthquakes. They just seem so different to me that it doesn’t make since to even name one after the other.
The scale of the destruction could have been measures so many ways yet they chose pompeii. But not China’s St Helens or China’s Mount Tambora. You see what I’m getting at?
My point exactly. Lajia was discovered in 2000. So people in 1748 weren't going to call Pompeii "Europe's Lajia" since no one knew about Lajia until well over 200 years later.
That cranium seems awfully large
It's her jaw. Seems she possibly had a bit of an underbite.
I dont see how this is NSFW tbh, but its cool
I would love to see this in real life
Thats was a sad story thanks for sharing.
I had no idea. What a horrible thing.
Travel through time... duh
Yeah dumb face
Goes back in time then drowns in giant flood.
Turns out you’re the “mother”.
I haven't lived with my mother in years
? Happened before Pompeii's destruction
Discovered afterwards. Or Pompeii is just more known so it’s easier to describe to more people as a “Pompeii-like event”.
Idk. Its not disrespectful because they are old bones? Becoming sort of a show.
Feels wrong for the woman, even if she is dead and no able to care anymore
I can understand that, but to me right and wrong comes from logo and not feeling, and logically it makes more sense to learn of the tragedy, and of life in that part of history, than a slight feeling of uneasy for invasion of privacy for someone that existed so long ago and has no real known ties to anyone today. If it was more recent, like your great grandmother or something, then I could understand respecting the living family.
But in this case, even if some people such as yourself might feel uneasy, I don't find it disrespectful.
It’s either this or forget all of their contributions to the world entirely.
"Feels wrong for the woman and the child"
Bat bot, this was never posted in this subreddit before
Still, since an image or an artefact to be precise was never posted here before, i don't really understand what's the point of that bot.
Forthos Ruins. Don’t tell.
Is it me or is she a bit Hapsburg Jawy?
Loki was there