Mesolithic Man and Woman, Motala

The woman F 295 and the man F 296 from Motala, Sweden. 5 700 B C.

In 2011 a dramatic Mesolithic site was excavated at Kanaljorden in Motala, Sweden. The craniums from ten individuals were found, in what appears to have been some kind of ritualic burial construction. The craniums from these hunter-gatherers were mounted on wooden stakes, and placed just above the surface of an ancient lake. And they all had several healed traumas/injuries, from repeated violence to their heads and faces. Very intriguing… a peek into the religious beliefs of this ancient world?

No human jaws were found at the site. However, there were numerous jaws from specific animal species like elk, bear, wild boar, badger and deer. Why? We can only make inspired guesses about the meaning of this. But a qualified assumption is that these specific animals had a very special role in their lives, culture and beliefs. Accepting this, ideas of shamanism and totem animals seems not that far fetched. To really show the close connection between these people and the animals, I decided that the man would be linked to the wild boar and the woman to the badger.

The woman, about 20 years old, carries a lot of features that would pass for typically male: a well developed glabella (the area above the nasal root) and distinct muscle attachments. In fact, this is not unusual to find in the remains from the Stone Age. We seem to have been more muscular, stronger and more fit to cope with the challenges of living as hunters/gatherers.
The DNA analysis showed that she carries the genes for having blue eyes, blond hair and a bit darker skin than her male friend F296. Also, her hair probably was a bit coarse in texture.

The man was about 50 years old, and had a very massive, masculine and broad facial skeleton. His DNA tells us his hair was brown, his skin tone a bit paler than F 295 and his eyes were blue.

Charlottenborgs Slott, Motala, Sweden.