Saturday, 19 February 2011
Ancient Britons Were Cannibals, Too
Ancient Britons stand accused today of ritually killing each other, boiling and eating human flesh and drinking out of hollowed out skulls – including the skulls of children. This may be a startling revelation to the general public, but I doubt that it will be much of a surprise to anthropologists. And it may even come as a relief to champions of aboriginal peoples around the world who have tried to dismiss evidence of native cannibalism as a white colonialist smear. At least now they can say: the Brits were at it, too.
The most significant thing about the discoveries, arguably, is the relative sophistication of the society that committed these atrocities. These cannibals were Ice Age hunter-gatherers, not savages. They chopped up the bodies and hollowed out the skulls with meticulous culinary precision. (It’s sheer coincidence, I’m sure, that the ancestors of these Cro-Magnon people came from France.) (- oh you just couldn't resist the cheap shot could you...)
It’s an uncomfortable truth that cannibalism isn’t confined to the most primitive people, but survived among societies – even civilisations – that Western scholars have depicted as “noble”, “peaceful” and “advanced”. For most of the 20th century, for example, there was a romantic cult of the Mayans of Central America as a gentle theocracy ruled by priest-astronomers. Then the murals of Bonampak were discovered – gorgeous works of art, but obviously the product of a people whose warrior-kings were ankle-deep in gore. Now the consensus is that the Mayans practised Aztec-style human sacrifice and ate the hearts of the the victims.
Theories involving cannibalism can wreak havoc in an age when archaeologists have to work in a politically correct academic environment. There was an explosive row in the late 1990s when evidence emerged that the Anasazi, ancestors of the revered Hopi Native Americans, sometimes butchered human victims like game animals.
Here’s the indignant response of one Debra Martin, an anthropology professor from Massachusetts, to research by physical anthropologist Christy Turner, who claimed to have found evidence of cannibalism at 38 Anasazi sites:
“Why does Christy think that if bones are cut and flesh cooked that it means cannibalism? Why can’t it also indicate the killing of witches? Why can’t it be ritual mortuary practice?”
Some Native American spokesmen, meanwhile, just refused to countenance the hypothesis. So have the representatives of other aboriginal peoples confronted by evidence of ancestral cannibalism, particularly if the practice occurred recently. As for New Age worshippers of the noble savage, the whole subject induces acute cognitive dissonance.
As I say, evidence that white Europeans were cannibals may take the edge off their distress.
I think it's a dangerous fiction, the idea of the 'gentle' primitive world; not just in terms of people, but in terms of animals - see the 'green' or 'animal liberation' mythos. Very misleading.
Anyone reminded of "General Butt Naked" of Liberia? I dunno, that just occurred to me.
Although, on the other side of the argument, a mythical picture of humans devolving into cannibal maniacs in the absence of government, is spun by the state/corporate media (post-apocalyptic games/films especially) to keep us afraid of freedom and instead demanding 'order' from the government, which only creates more problems.
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And You Tell Me There's No Suppressed Technology?
It's another of those 'conspiracy theories' that good citizens don't notice. Imagine the standard of living if all the secret technology was released to the public...we'd be "free and independent" as JFK said! No more poverty anywhere! Can you imagine being sick enough to withhold such technology from society just to maintain your position of control? (Bearing in mind that we don't know just how much technological capability is being withheld, because, duh, it's secret.) What did Nikola Tesla really develop?
Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!
No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)