In recent times it has been discovered during a series of excavations for some piping work, a burial site of sacrificial victims. The area is the Oxfordshire, England, and the burials have revealed some macabre details of the pre-Roman inhabitants of England, living in that zone approximately 3,000 years ago.

Some bones show a brutal end, a horrible death wanted at the hands of their brothers. A woman had her feet amputated and her arms tied behind her head, white another person of un unclear sex, had her head placed between its feet.

The human sacrifice as a cultural practice

Neil Holbrook, CEO of Cotswold Archaeology, declared:

“The discovery challenges our perceptions about the past, and invites us to try to understand the beliefs of people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago. Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice”.

The remains of these ancient victims have been removed from the site in order to conduct a more accurate forensic investigation, hoping to better understand the way people were sacrificed.

All over the ancient world the farming communities or the hunter/gatherer ones were used to offering sacrifices after flooding, epidemics, famine or earthquakes in order to ask  for helps to the Gods, just in a similar fashion as the recent discovery of the 140 sacrificed children in Peru.

What draws the attention here is the brutality of these executions, with amputations and great violence

The human sacrifices were common to be executed as a propitiatory rite even in case of war with some rival clans, perhaps while killing the prisoners of the opposing group.

The archaeologists who are studying the remains believe that the person killed were part of the same community who realised the Uffington White Horse geoglyph in Dragon Hill, drawn with chalk and of the same period of the burials.

Paolo Guardino, manager of the project “Archeologico Cotswold”, said:

“These results open a window over life and death of communities that we often know only for their monumental buildings, like the hillforts or the Uffington White Horse. The result of the analysis of the artifacts, of the animal bones, of the human skeletons and of the soil samples, will help us to add some precious information to the history of those populations who inhabited these lands many many years ago”.

Other evidence about the ritual sacrifices

The people sacrificed date back to 3,000 years ago but in England and Great Britain there are numerous examples of ritual sacrifices, at least since 5,000 years ago. In 2015 they recovered in Wilshire, county of  Stonehenge, several human remains which were all along the big wall of soil in the plain of Salisbury. Under the massive graves there were thousands of animal bones that had been sacrificed and eaten in huge folk feasts.

In a previous article from the Daily Mail, the archaeologists affirmed:

“When we dig in these areas we often find pits with animal rests. Since the skeletons are intact of chuck into big “pieces”, it is plausible that they were killed to be eaten but  still as an offer to the gods. The discovered bones suggest that pork was the preferred animal of ancient Brits in the period going between 4,000 and 2,500 BC”.

But the archaeologists from Wiltshire have also found human beings with arrow heads stuck in their vertebrae and injuries to their skulls.

They died in a violent manner, most likely through sacrificial rites

Unlike the medieval warriors or the ones from previous epochs, these ancient killed bodies are often found as buried singularly or inside bigger monuments build for the occasion. What this all hints is that they were part of a sacrifice during some sort of a religious ceremony.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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