The earliest evidence of human massacre can be traced back to 10,000 years ago, thanks to a new archaeological discovery in the semi-desert site of Nataruk, near Lake Turkana in Kenya.
The researchers found a set of human skeletons bearing traces of fatal injury, suggesting a “mass murder” 10,000 years ago when prehistoric man was not yet settled.
It points to a horrific scene, that ended the lives of a group of 27 men, children and even heavily pregnant women, who were battered and stabbed seemingly without mercy.
“These remains testify to the intentional killing of a small group of people in search of food. They provide the only proof of a warrior event among hunter-gatherers of prehistoric times,” say the scientists in a study published Wednesday in the British journal Nature.
Experts believe the group of foragers was wiped out by rival hunter gatherers, who stabbed their victims and smashed their heads, knees and limbs with clubs.
“I never imagined in my dreams to find the remains of the oldest documented massacres of history” in hunter-gatherers, enthuses Marta Mirazon Lahr, an anthropologist at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), which spearheaded the excavations.
The remains were discovered near a place located near a body of water, overflowing with abundant wildlife, which made it very interesting for hunters and gatherers in search of food.
Very old cases of brutal violence had already been revealed but it is not known if this happened between two individuals or involved many people.