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article imageDid Prehistoric Man Have Ritual Sacrifices?

By KJ Mullins     Jun 20, 2007 in World
Is it possible that Prehistoric man performed ritual sacrifices? The answer is yes and not only possible but probable. Researching the graves of the Upper Paleolithic archaeologists had richly detailed burial offerings and decoration.
Many of the graves had bodies of the young or deformed. Could these people have been sacrificed to appease the Gods?
It's quite possible thinks Vincenzo Formicola of the University of Pisa, Italy.
"These findings point to the possibility that human sacrifices were part of the ritual activity of these populations," Formicola wrote in a recent edition of the journal Current Anthropology.
The hunter-gathers of that time period buried their dead leaving the graves with offerings. The theory is they believed in an afterlife.
While two or more people were occasionally buried together when injuries or disease was present new findings show that multiple burials were more common. The findings also show some of these graves have more elaborate offerings than most graves.
"The time required to prepare all these ivory goods is enormous," Formicola said. "It was made for a ceremony and it was made specifically for the children. This leads [one] to wonder if this ceremony was foreseen long before the children's death."
Bodies were positioned in unnatural ways in some of the graves. There could have been fear when a person was deformed such as with dwarfism. The fear of the unknown could have been thought to be a message from the Gods.
Later cultures of the Egyptians, The Maya and the Aztec had greatly detailed and recorded causes of ritual sacrifice. Could they have been following their ancestors who lived before written word?
"What [the data are] suggesting is that the Upper Paleolithic societies developed a complexity of interactions and a common system of beliefs, of symbols and of rituals that are unknown in small groups of modern foragers," said Formicola.
The findings do show that just perhaps those who came before were much more cultured than we previously thought.
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