Found: 9,000-year-old case of ritualistic beheading that may be oldest in Americas

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tags: archaeology, ritualistic beheading



From 19th-century tales about tribes hunting for “trophy heads” to Hollywood films such as Mel Gibson’s Apocolypto, the Amazon rain forest has long inspired gruesome stories about ritualistic killing. However, the portrayal of civilisations such as the IncasNazcas, and the Wari cultures making human sacrifices in South America may have a much longer tradition than previously thought.

A new study, published in PLOS One, reports the discovery of a 9,000 year-old case of ritualised human decapitation that seems to be the oldest in the Americas by some margin.

Execution or burial?

The researchers found the remains of the beheaded young man from a rock shelter in Lapa do Santo, East-Central Brazil. Quite astonishingly the decapitated remains date to between 9,100 and 9,400 years ago.




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