Think your life is bad? Archaeologists show us worse.

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Amid swine flu, sinking economies and other sorrows of the modern world, losing track of when life was really tough can be easy. Lucky for us, we have archaeologists to put things in a little perspective.

Consider life on the high steppes of Central Asia, the Altai Mountains, around 500 B.C., in modern-day Mongolia. Back then, it was the home of the Pazyryk peoples, horse-riding nomads who lived next door to the not-so-friendly Scythians. In fact, the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, in The Histories, described the Scythians as warriors who tangled with tribes of Amazons, practiced human sacrifice, scalping and cannibalism of their enemies. A lot more aggravating than the neighbor who borrows your lawn mower, in other words.

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