The Oldest Unsolved Murder In The World

It's difficult to picture how murders were solved in the days before Law and Order existed. That show has been on forever, and it's almost impossible to remember a time when society didn't turn to Ice-T to quench its thirst for justice (as long as you forget about the song "Cop Killer"). It's also difficult to identify what technically counted as a murder in the days before written laws ordered you not to murder people.

As the book Beyond Dystopia! points out, the oldest known written legal code was devised under the ancient Mesopotamian king Ur-Nammu sometime between 2100 and 2050 B.C. It says that "if a man commits a murder, that man must be killed," but the precise distinction between "murder" and "killing" is unclear from the text. For example, under the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, an adulterous wife and her lover could be legally thrown into a river to drown or impaled to death. Were restrictions on killing even more lax before written laws existed? Maybe, but without an ancient Ice-T to shed light on the subject, we can only take a stab in the dark and hope not to kill anyone in the process. With that potential alibi in mind, here's the world's oldest unsolved "murder."

History's oldest cold case

According to archaeologist Kristina Killgrove, "The world's first murder" occurred 430,000 years ago during the Middle Pleistocene period, when the first homo sapiens fossils appear. The victim's remains were found in Spain's "Pit of Bones," located in the Atapuerca Mountains. As detailed in a 2015 study published in PLOS One, researchers recovered 52 fragments of a fractured skull. Using 3D analyses, they pieced together which breaks occurred around or after the time of death. Skull indentations indicated "blunt force trauma to the head at the time of death." It appears that an attacker struck the victim at least twice with the same object. But in the killer's defense, it may be that a Pleistocene Ice-T was using the long arm of the ancient law to drop the hammer on a criminal's head.