Human Sacrifice May Have Solidified Social Hierarchies
Civilization wasn’t always so civilized. Anthropologists have uncovered a link between human sacrifices and the rise of stratified social systems. A new study shows that ritualized religious killings may have been used by ancient elites to cement social hierarchies in some of our earliest civilizations. University of Auckland researchers found that the barbaric practice was common among a diverse group of larger Austronesian cultures, and their research is shedding a bloody new light on how we developed from smaller egalitarian settlements to the large class-based societies we have today.