Friday, February 18, 2011

Cannibal Britons drank from skulls

Taken from the Ottawa Citizen

A gruesome discovery in the Cheddar Gorge suggests ancient Britons indulged in cannibalism and drank from the skulls of their victims.

Scientists have analysed the remains of three humans - including a child of three - who appear to have been killed for food, butchered, and eaten. The bones showed evidence of precision cuts to extract the maximum amount of meat and the skulls were carved into cups and bowls.

The fragments, which are 14,700 years old, are thought to be the oldest examples in the world of skull cups and represent the first evidence of ritual killing found in Britain. At the time, humans knew how to bury their dead, meaning the remains are most likely the result of premeditated cannibalism.

"At the time, life was very tough," said Prof Chris Stringer, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum, who helped excavate the cups from Gough's Cave, in Somerset. "Cannibalism would have been a good way of removing groups competing with you and getting food for yourself.

"There was also a feeling that if you ate your enemy you gained some of his power."

"What is more sinister is that these were quite sophisticated hunter-gatherers - very like us," he added. "They could make tools and painted cave art. They also had quite complex burials for the people they were not eating, treating the dead with reverence."

Kinda reminds me of the comic Joel found and put it on Facebook:

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