Remains of ancient farmers who battered each other to death have been discovered in Chile.
The skeletons were found as part of a study which evaluated the violence among the first horticulturalists in the Atacama desert in Northern Chile during the Neolithic transition between 1,000 BCE – 600 CE.
The remains show how the farmers lived in the dry heat of the desert, but also portray examples of violence with some of them even murdering each other.
According to the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, where the study was published, researchers said: “The emergence of elites and social inequality fostered interpersonal and inter-and intra-group violence associated with the defence of resources, socio-economic investments, and other cultural concerns."
The study analysed the trauma caused by violence using a sample of 194 individuals.
All 194 skeletons analysed were from adults and were well preserved because of the dry conditions.
Over one in five (21%) showed evidence of “interpersonal violence”, which means violence including the intentional use of physical force.
This included causing skull holes and fractures that would have caused extreme pain, with around one in 10 likely dying from lethal blows caused by weapons like maces, sticks and arrows.
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Researchers believe the fights could have been over land, water and resources.
They wrote: “Some individuals exhibited severe high impact fractures of the cranium that caused massive destruction of the face and neurocranium, with cranio-facial disjunction and outflow of brain mass.”
Meanwhile, archaeologists in China recently found the skeletons of a man and woman who are lovingly positioned in an "eternal love lock."
Experts believe the skeletal remains date back more than 1,500 years and were discovered in northern China in 2020.
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