Over the course of human history, societal sensibilities have changed quite a bit. For example, apparently 8,000 years ago having a stake driven through your noggin was not much more than a bad case of the Mondays. Thanks to the work of archaeologists, we are now discovering just how horrifying life used to be. By the end of this list, you’ll be glad you don’t live thousands of years in the past because it looks seriously messed up.
1. Babies In The Bathhouse
Researchers on a dig in Israel were combing through the structures of an Ancient Roman/Byzantine bathhouse. The building was fitted with a sewage system for drainage purposes, but what they found there was disturbing. In the pipes were the bones of hundreds of babies. Why the infants were placed there remains unknown.
2. Neandethal Cannibal Attack
Though neanderthals are separate from humans, they’re close enough to make this list. In 2010, archeologists in Spain discovered the remains of a cannibal feast. Three adult females, three adult males, three teenagers, two young children and an infant showed indications that they were the lunch of another group of neanderthals. Yikes.
3. The Headless Vikings of Dorset
Railroad workers in Dorset, England were in the midst of a regular day when they came upon a burial of sorts. The bones of a small contingent of fighting-age Scandinavian men had been placed together and each one was missing his head. Experts surmise the men may have been executed for some sort of defection.
4. The Claw of the Mount Owen Moa
In 1986, a expedition into the cave systems of Mount Owen in New Zealand came upon a well preserved limb. It was the foot of what looked like a recently deceased bird. In actuality it wasn’t very recent. This specimen was from a prehistoric creature called the Upland Moa which will now haunt my dreams for the foreseeable future.
5. Spike To The Skull
In the process of excavating a lakebed in Motala, Sweden, archeologists were surprised to find several skulls that had spikes driven through them. Others also had the pieces of other skulls placed inside them. This horriyfing scene likely occurred around 8,000 years ago.
6. The Grauballe Man
Though mummies in marshes and bogs are not entirely unique discoveries, this man’s story was special in how well it was told by the information in and around his remains. The large slash on his necks suggests his death was the result of a sacrifice – likely in the name of a healthy harvest.
7. Venetian Vampire Vs. Brick
While seemingly a silly solution when compared to a wooden stake or garlic, this method of vampire prevention wasn’t so odd hundreds of years ago. The brick and cement placed in this person’s mouth were believed to prevent its ability to rise from the dead and bite much of anything. Terrible, but effective.
8. The Oldest Leper
Lepers have never really gotten much slack throughout history, despite the disease not being very contagious. But the first known instance of its stigma comes in the form of a skeleton from about 4,000 years ago. The Indian man’s body is largely intact, despite Hindu tradition calling for cremation. This suggests he was an outcast and was not give the same sort of burial rights.
9. Burned Alaskan Child
During an excavation of a home estimated to be about 11,500 years old, researchers discovered a grisly sight. Inside the ancient hearth was the charred remains a 3-year-old child. It appeared that the home was abandoned after the cremation.
10. Chemical Warfare In Ancient Syria
About 2,000 years ago, a group of 20 or so ancient Roman soldiers were subject to a particularly gruesome demise. Whilst besieging the Syrian town of Dura, Persian soldiers began to dig tunnels in order to get past the Roman defenses. The Romans thought it smart to dig their own tunnels and try and intercept the intrusive Persians. In response to this, the Persians left a trap that was bad by any measure of wartime deaths. They left a petrochemical concoction that would have likely turned the Romans’ lungs to acid. Sounds like a bad time.