Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reuters: Not One for Understatement

Ancient Brits ate dead and made skulls into cups:

Ancient Britons devoured their dead and created gruesome goblets from the skulls of their remains, according to new research published on Wednesday
Feeling peckish?

 I'm surprised it isn't followed by a series of exclamation points.

Now, I don't know enough about the report to really comment, except to point out that this wasn't the Celts, so please no more stories about the evil, bloodthirsty savage Celts. These bones are from 15,000 years ago--before the last Ice Age, and at least 12,000 years before there was such a thing as a Celt. Also, the article later bothers to point out
They said the circumstances behind the deaths of the Cro-Magnons (European early modern humans), whose bones they discovered, can only be guessed at.
 They may have been killed, butchered and eaten -- with the skull-cups just the end of this event -- or may have been part of the group who died and were eaten in a crisis situation, with the skull-cups created as a tribute to the dead.

"We simply do not know," they said in a joint emailed response to questions.

But hey, if we can't be sensational about archaeology, why report it at all?

Cannibalism can be a touchy issue in anthropology; and the article isn't very helpful, suddenly switching to Greeks reporting on Scythian headhunters, Vikings (take that, Swedes!), and those evil Tantric Buddhists, all of whom were cannibals.

Well, so were those football players in the Andes, but hey, why let circumstances like starvation get in the way of a good story?

Also, aren't vampires basically into liquid cannibalism? Think on that next time some tween squeals about Twilight. Those girls are on the long, dark road to cannibalism.

Picture from the Guardian, not Reuters.

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