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Who Shot this Neanderthal? The Mystery of Ancient Skulls with Bullet Holes

Did ancient civilizations possess advanced technology? Do these ancient skulls with bullet holes answer this question?

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If you’re like us, you might have noticed that history is littered with inconsistency and sometimes it completely lacks records of certain events. It makes one question the accuracy and integrity of the accounts of yesteryear.

Many alternative archaeologists consider the possibility that ancient man reached technological levels equal or even greater to our own and that catastrophes or the destructive passage of time could have erased almost all evidence.

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In 1921, a Swiss miner named Tom Zwiglaar made a controversial discovery while digging in a zinc mine in modern-day Zambia. At a depth of around 60 feet (18 meters) Zwiglaar pulled from the ground an early hominid cranium, an upper jaw and some other bone fragments.

Named after the place where it was discovered, the Broken Hill skull was the first evidence toward the existence of a primitive species of man called Homo rhodesiensis.

The skull is believed to be anywhere from 125,000 to 300,000 years old and can be currently found on display at the Natural History Museum in London. But there is more to this skull than meets the eye.

On its left temporal bone there’s a small circular hole that forensic scientists believe could only have been caused by a projectile traveling at high velocity. On the opposite side, the parietal plate is shattered from the inside.

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This suggests that whatever hit this ancient man entered through the left side of his head, maintaining enough force to shatter the bone on the opposite side. Undoubtedly, this was a fatal blow. But what caused it?

The sensible explanation would be that the hole was caused by an arrow or spear. But these rudimentary, low-velocity projectiles leave different markings on bone. When an arrow strikes, it creates hairline fractures, radiating from the point of impact. The Broken Hill skull shows no evidence of being hit with an arrow.

The clean, circular hole suggests a small and very fast projectile. As forensic scientists pointed out, a bullet fits the profile. In fact, the ancient skull shows the same damage as those of gunshot wound victims.

How can that be? Conventional history tells us gunpowder wasn’t invented until the 9th century AD and the first firearms were produced some centuries later. That’s a long way from the estimated age of the Broken Hill skull.

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The depth at which it was found eliminates the possibility of a modern skull accidentally turning up in an older geological formation.

The skull itself belongs to a hominid that predates the modern age by far. The evidence contradicts conventional archaeology and the only explanation would hurt the accepted scientific paradigms.

If this skull were the only one of its kind, its peculiar hole could be explained as the result of a freak accident. But it isn’t.

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Half a world away, in the valley of the Lena River in Russia, an archaeological dig unearthed the skull of an extinct species of cattle called aurochs. This wild bovine first appeared two million years ago and went extinct about four thousand years ago.

Despite coming from an older time period, this skull features the same type of hole as the one found in Zambia.

The skull wasn’t shot in modern times as the bone tissue around the hole is calcified, suggesting that the animal survived after being shot and its wound healed.

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If you want to see the skull for yourself, you’ll have to travel to Russia and visit the Museum of Paleontology in Moscow.

Naturally, there are a few theories that attempt to explain these controversial skulls and some are more outrageous than others. From aliens to firearm-wielding time travelers, they paint the same strange picture.

But the fact of the matter is both these skulls show evidence of technology we call modern being used in ancient times. They don’t provide a certain answer to the question in the first paragraph but they give mainstream archaeology a run for its money.

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Are we the first earthlings to develop hi-tech or were there others before us, the evidence of their existence being largely eroded to dust by the sands of time?

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.