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Mysterious Skulls Linked To An Ancient Zombie Apocalypse

Several puzzling ancient skulls with their faces smashed in offer possible evidence our ancestors at...

Several puzzling ancient skulls with their faces smashed in offer possible evidence our ancestors attempted to fight a zombie apocalypse.

Who were these mysterious feared beings whose skulls were exhumed and detached from their bodies several years after originally being buried?

Our modern society is fascinated with zombie mythology and there are literally thousands new horror books and movies about the living dead.

According to Angela Becerra Vidergar, Stanford literary scholar the fascination with the end of the world can be traced to the advent of nuclear warfare during World War II.

Ancient people had obviously other reasons to fear zombies.

Archaeologists have unearthed detached skulls at many Stone Age sites in Europe and the Near East sites. Several skulls buried underneath an ancient settlement in Syria were found detached from their bodies with their faces smashed in.

Mysterious Skulls Linked To An Ancient Zombie Apocalypse
Did Stone Age people fight and survive a zombie apocalypse?

This archeological discovery is a scientific mystery with many unanswered questions.

Strangely, many of the 10,000-year-old skulls appear to have been separated from their spines long after their bodies had already begun to decompose. Evidence suggests that the skulls were exhumed and detached from their bodies several years after originally being buried. It was then that they were smashed in and reburied separate from their bodies.

Why would this skull-smashing ritual be performed so long after individuals had died? Did they only pose a threat to the living long after their original burial and death? Who were these beings that had been dead for so many years and still feared? 

Most of the skulls belonged to adult males between 18 and 30 years old. One - belonging to a child - was left intact; one was smashed to pieces; the remaining nine lacked facial bones.

"There was a pattern," says Juan José Ibañez of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona.

"The top of the skull and the jaw were there, but they were missing all of the bones in between."

His team believes the facial bones were smashed out with a stone and brute force.

"There were no traces of cutting," he says.

"The post-mortem violence suggests young men were seen as carrying a particular threat," says Stuart Campbell at the University of Manchester, UK. Destroying their facial structures may have been a way of destroying the individuals' identities, he says.

Liv Nilsson Stutz at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, says the act could have helped deal with grief. "Taking away facial identity could be a way of separating the dead from the living," she says. 
Mysterious Skulls Linked To An Ancient Zombie Apocalypse
The skulls were found with the faces smashed in. 
Image: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
According to zombie mythology, the walking dead are hungry for the flesh of the living, and the only way to stop them is with a head shot. In many zombie movies, this involves shooting them in the cranium.

The frontal lobe must be damaged because the zombie acts on base impulses, like pursuing and eating other people. Other brain damage accounts for the lack of motor coordination and general poor manners, the zombie research society informs. 
Mysterious Skulls Linked To An Ancient Zombie Apocalypse
Did our ancestors fear zombies?
How could Stone Age people know the only way to kill a zombie was by damaging the cranium? Did our ancestors really fight and survive a zombie apocalypse?

Ibañez suggests a less dramatic explanation. He believes that Stone Age cultures believed dead young men were a threat to the world of the living.

He says that our ancestors thought they could absorb the strength of the dead young men by performing the smashing-skull ritual. This is the reason why a majority of the skulls were from young men.

On the other hand, it is also possible Stone Age people feared that the dead rise from their graves and the only way to stop this from happening was by smashing the skull. This suggests that fears about the walking dead may go back all the way to the Stone Age.


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