Head bangers

TENERIFE was a violent place before the Spanish arrived, a study of the skulls of its inhabitants has found. Conrado Rodríguez-Martín of the Canaries Institute of Palaeopathology and Bioanthropology in Santa Cruz de Tenerife examined over 400 skulls pre-dating the Spanish invasion in 1496. Around 10 per cent of the skulls showed circular cranial fractures, an injury rarely found among archaeological human skeletons. The fractures were most common among males in their twenties and early thirties (Journal of Paleopathology, vol 9, p 91). The pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the Canaries, the Guanches, fought with weapons similar to an Argentinean bola (two or more heavy balls attached to a cord). Over 80 per cent of the fractures show clear signs of healing, says Rodríguez-Martín,
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