The study of prehistoric fiction and fact, and the application of Archeo/Anthropological Criticism to works in "speculative" genres. Joe Lyon Layden is the author of The Oracle of Lost Sagas (2017) and the leader of The Looters Revue Show.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Human sacrifice may have helped societies become more complex
Religion is often touted as a force for moral good in the world—but it has
a sinister side, too, embodied by gruesome rituals like human sacrifice.
Now, new research suggests that even this dark side may have served an
important function. Scientists have found that these ceremonial killings
—intended to appease gods—may have encouraged the development
of complex civilizations in maritime Southeast Asia and the South Pacific,
though some experts remain unconvinced.
Human sacrifice was part of many traditional cultures across the globe,
marking important events like the death of a leader or the construction of
a house or boat. In the islands of the Indian and Pacific oceans, powerful
chiefs or priests usually carried out the grim rites. They dispatched powerless
individuals—often slaves—by cutting off their heads, beating them to death, or
crushing them with canoes until they died.