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Chilling remains of ancient farmers who battered each other to death discovered

Researchers say the ancient men would have fought over land, water and resources. The skeletons have been preserved because of the dry air in the desert where they lived and worked

Skeletons of ancient farmers who battered each other to death have been found

The remains of ancient farmers who are thought to have fought to the death have been unearthed.

The grisly find was discovered in the Atacama Desert in modern day Chile and date back 3,000 years.

The skeletons show how the farmers not only lived in the dry heat of the desert, but times of violence that led to even more violent crime like murder.

They were found in a study where 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.

“This study evaluated violence among the first horticulturalists in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile during the Neolithic transition between 1000 BCE – 600 CE. Furthermore, it analysed trauma caused by interpersonal violence using a sample of 194 individuals.”

The 194 skeletons investigation were all adult and came from ancient cemeteries in the desert’s Azapa Valley. The skeletons were all well preserved because of the dry conditions.



194 skeletons were found in the dig in the desert’s Azapa Valley
(

Image:

Standen et al.)




Around 21 per cent of the skeletons showed evidence of “interpersonal violence” including skull holes and fractures that would have caused extreme pain. Around 10 per cent likely died from lethal blows.

Weapons like maces, sticks and arrows could have caused the trauma.

The researchers 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.”

The researchers said the fights could have been over land, water and resources.



Around 10 per cent of the people found died from lethal blows
(

Image:

Standen et al.)




Weapons like maces, sticks and arrows could have caused the trauma.

The researchers said: “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.”

The fights could have been over land, water and resources.

The full study findings can be found in the in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.




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