Evidence of complex and gruesome funeral rites found in the Lapa do Santo cave in Brazil have shocked researchers yet again. The researchers have discovered evidence of the mutilation of corpses, including the removal of flesh, muscles, and teeth, exposure to fire, and possible cannibalism. This is added to a previous discovery of a decapitated skull found at the site last year.
According to the news agent Seeker, the 9,500-year-old remains are the oldest examples of complex funeral rituals in the area. “This finding testifies that a great cultural diversity was already present in South America already 10,000 years ago,” one of the lead researchers, André Strauss, told Discovery News.
A skull showing burn marks and intentional removal of teeth. (Mauricio de Paiva)
Although Lapa do Santo was a burial ground for bodies beginning about 10,000 and 10,600 years ago, the more complex rites didn’t begin until between 9,400 and 9,600 years ago. The manipulation of the deceased’s bones seemed to have faded from popularity by between 8,200-8,600 years ago.
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