How far would you go to be resourceful? Early Britons used each others' skulls as drinking cups and bowls. Recently, researcher Silvia Bello found human skulls with the top cut off laying in Gough's Cave, England. Skillful cut marks make it look like fellow humans scraped off the dead skin to clean the bone, and chips around the rim of the skull cup make it look like the edges were evened out for a better drinking experience. Researchers have found other skull cups in France and Germany, but the ones from Gough's Cave are the oldest.
Despite sounding like a pirate fantasy, skulls may have been the most useful concave object to people living in this area of England 15,000 years ago. Coconuts were a long way off. They may have had pottery, but why go to the trouble when a ready-made cup is at hand?
The early Britons weren't totally primitive; They did make harpoons for fishing, used flint tools--hand sized rocks chipped into a sharp blade on one side--for carving, and enjoyed making art. According to recent research, it was the flint tools that were most handy when fashioning a skull cup. Here's how it's done:
- Use a flint tool to peel away the scalp of your dead friend. Keep peeling until you remove all the skin.
- Remove the jaw.
- Chip off the bones of the lower skull with swift strokes perpendicular to the skull surface. Remove small piece by small piece so as to not create a crack in your future water glass.
- When you're approaching a half-sphere shape, begin to even out the edges by laying the edge against a rock and tapping it with another rock.
- Admire your positively morbid creation, and toast to a job well done!
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