LONDON, Jan 21, 2016:
Hunter gatherers were not really that peaceful as we would often like to think. Evidence of a bone-chilling human massacre that took place 10,000 years ago has been unearthed in Nataruk, near Lake Turkana in Kenya.
A “war grave” which contains the fossilised bones of a group of 27 hunter-gatherers shows that early man was savagely aggressive.
The grave with smashed remains includes a heavily pregnant woman whose hands and feet were bound before she was slaughtered. Some other victims had blades and arrows still buried in their skulls.
Researchers now believe the Nataruk massacre is the earliest scientifically-dated historical evidence of human conflict.
Professor Robert Foley from Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies said the findings showed that violence was as much part of the human character as the altruism which allowed us to be the most cooperative species on the planet, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The 27 skeletons included at least eight women and six children and showed unmistakable signs of the victims’ violent deaths including smashed skulls, broken hands, ribs and knees as well as arrow wounds.
Several of the skeletons were found face down with their faces smashed, probably with wooden clubs and none of them were buried.
Archaeologists are of the opinion that the victims represent an extended family which was attacked and massacred by a rival group of prehistoric foragers.
The killings are likely to have occurred between 9,500 to 10,500 years ago, around the start of the Holocene: the geological epoch that followed the last Ice Age, the report adds.
Before this discovery, the earliest war grave dated back 5000 BC, was found in Darmstadt, Germany.