An ancient grave site in Turkey contains the remains of children who were believed to have been victims of a sacrificial ritual carried out around 5,000 years ago.
A total of 10 skeletons, a mix of males and females aged between 11 and 20, were excavated from the Başur Höyük cemetery. Eight of the skeletons were located in an outer chamber and piled one on top of the other, right at the foot of two children in the inner chamber.
Two young adults from the group of eight in the outer chamber suffered violent deaths with sharp force traumas on the head and to the hip socket, according to Brenna Hassett, a bioarchaeologist wth London's Natural History Museum.
The manner of death and the way the eight children were positioned in the outer chamber are reasons to believe they served as "retainer" sacrifices for the two in the inner chamber, who were surrounded with rich grave goods such as these bronze spearheads.
Beadwork adornment was also found with the retainer burials. A retainer burial is a practice of providing sacrificed humans to another deceased person to attend to them in the afterlife.
The Başur Höyük cemetery, with the graves outlined in red, was in use some 5,000 years ago.
Many other cultures around the world practiced human sacrifice, such as the Aztecs, who used sacrificial knives like this.