The skull, belonging to a tall and solidly built Aboriginal man, has a misshapen cranium.
Also, his bones reveal he had multiple breaks in both forearms, a fractured ankle so severe his shinbones fused together and arthritis in his jaw.
“Death might have been something to look forward to for him,” The Age quoted palaeo-anthropologist Peter Brown as saying.
“You can only change the shape of the head in a baby because the skull is soft and malleable so it can pass through the birth canal,” said Professor Brown, from the University of New England.
“It is clear from the archaeological record that a group of people living on the Murray River used to do this … between 10,000 and 13, 000 years ago,” he added.
Brown added that massaging the brain doesn’t cause brain damage because it is a flexible organ.
Cranium manipulation was not an unusual practice – some reports suggest it was the most popular type of body modification after circumcision.