With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Ritual Child Sacrifice Uncovered in Bronze Age Turkey

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that at least 11 children and young people were killed as a result of ritualistic sacrifice between 3100 and 2800 B.C.E. Their research was published Wednesday in the journal Antiquity.

The bodies of people aged around 11 and up were arranged in bizarre positions in and around a large stone tomb. Eight young people lay at the feet of two children in the coffin-like structure. Further remains lay around the tomb surrounded by extravagant grave goods.

Some remains show evidence of stab wounds, but researchers aren't sure how all of the individuals lost their lives. One male had violent injuries to his hip and head, similar to wounds reconstructed from other Mesopotamian ritual sacrifices.

"It is unlikely that these children and young people were killed in a massacre or conflict," the London Natural History Museum's Brenna Hassett said in a statement. "The careful positioning of the bodies and the evidence of violent death suggest that these burials fit the same pattern of human sacrifice seen at other sites in the region." ...

Read entire article at Newsweek