From Ready Nutrition:

Some people seem to have a pretty rosy idea about what life was like for our ancestors, especially for those who lived before the advent of agriculture and the rise of civilization. Perhaps it’s because there are no written records from that time, so we don’t know precisely how these people lived. Or it could be driven by our innate desire to live simply, after enduring a world that gets more complicated every day.

Truth be told though, the people who lived before the rise of civilization did not have easy lives. I’m not talking about the obvious problems like having poor medical care or busting your rump all day to catch a meal. The most glaring difference between how we live and how our ancestors lived, is how much violence these people had to deal with.

Many of us can’t help but notice how crazy and violent the world is today. We look at the news and we see the wars, the murders, and the genocide, and we conclude that we’re living in incredibly dangerous times. However, that is an illusion. We simply live in a time when information can be passed from one person to the next, faster than ever before. And no matter which era you live in, bloody headlines are popular. We think the world is overwhelmingly violent, but we’re just hearing about it more than we did before.

Do you want to know how violent the world was before the rise of civilization? Take a look at what these anthropologists recently excavated in France.

Two men, one woman and four children were killed, probably in a raid or other violent encounter, the researchers report in the December Antiquity. Their bodies were piled in a pit that already contained a collection of left arms hacked off by axes or other sharp implements. Scattered hand bones at the bottom of the pit suggest that hands from the severed limbs had been deliberately cut into pieces.

It’s unclear who the arms belonged to. All the Bergheim skeletons have both their arms except for a man with skull damage caused by violent blows. His skeleton lacks a left arm, the researchers say. They have been unable to determine whether that arm ended up in the pit.

Chenal’s group doesn’t know whether attackers targeted victims’ left arms for a particular reason. The arms could have been taken as war trophies, the team speculates.

Or, how about this 7000 year old mass grave that was investigated earlier this year.

Cleaning and sorting the bones revealed the incomplete skeletons of 13 adults, one teenager, and 12 children—10 of them under 6 years old, and the youngest only 6 months old. The skeletons were dated to between 7200 and 6800 years ago, about as old as those found at the two other mass graves.

The skulls showed signs of lethal blows, and more than 50% of the shin bones recovered from the grave were broken. “The fractures we found here were clearly fresh,”…

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