A Mexican cave disgorged a massive pre-Columbian crime scene
One of the left's useful narratives is that Native Americans lived in idyllic, pastoral harmony, only to have this paradise brutally destroyed by the invading Europeans and their Christian God. There's some truth (some Native American tribes were peaceful and some Europeans brutal), but that's not important for the left. Angelic indigenous people and evil Whites are the core story for them. That's why it's intriguing to learn about the fate of 150 people whose skeletons were found in a cave in Mexico.
The skeletons were actually found a decade ago. Now, though, Guatemala's Institute of Anthropology and History has determined when and how these people died. It turns out that they were victims of human sacrifice around 1,000 years ago:
The police in 2012 weren't being stupid; the border area around the town of Frontera Comalapa in southern Chiapas state has long been plagued by violence and immigrant trafficking. And pre-Hispanic skull piles in Mexico usually show a hole bashed through each side of every skull, and were usually found in ceremonial plazas, not caves.
But experts said Wednesday the victims in the cave had probably been ritually decapitated and the skulls put on display on a kind of trophy rack known as a "tzompantli." Spanish conquistadores wrote about seeing such racks in the 1520s, and some Spaniards' heads even wound up on them.
While usually strung on wooden poles using holes bashed through them — the common practice among the Aztecs and other cultures — experts say the cave skulls may have rested atop poles, rather than being strung on them.
CBS notes that these are not the only victims of sacrifice archeologists have found:
In 2015, archaeologists found the main trophy rack of sacrificed human skulls at Mexico City's Templo Mayor Aztec ruin site.
That same year, artifacts found at the Zultepec-Tecoaque ruin site revealed evidence from when hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convoy were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.
According to another study that CBS cites, ritual sacrifice was a means of social control in developing societies. Well, yes, but there's more to it than that.
Indigenous cultures in the Americas ranged from Stone Age prehistoric to something akin to pre-Christian pagan culture (think: the Aztecs and Mayans). They worshiped myriad gods tied to natural forces and existed in a state of almost continuous violence. As Steven Pinker explains in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, in prehistoric times, violence against the other was a necessary aspect of survival because resources (food, water, shelter, and women) were scarce and because the "other" was likely to kill you if you didn't kill him first.
Our human ancestors, writes Pinker, in every corner of the globe, were highly aggressive, something that may have come from our primate forebears. Stone Age tribes the world over lived in a state of constant warfare, something that Pinker describes in graphic detail, often ending in cannibalism or sacrifice to the capricious gods.
Europeans went through the same phases, but by the time they arrived in the Americas, something had changed, and that something was Christianity. The Europeans during the era of exploration maintained the cruelty and violence of pre-modern cultures, but what they had abandoned was human sacrifice.
The Jews, with the story of the binding of Isaac, were the first known group to conclude that their God opposed human sacrifice. For various reasons, the great pre-modern cultures in Europe and the Middle East (e.g., Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans) abandoned human sacrifice as well, preferring animal offerings to their gods.
Still, by the time Christianity came along, large swaths of Europe outside the reach of Rome still engaged in human sacrifice (e.g., the Celts and Germanic tribes). The genius of Christianity was helping these pagans understand that they no longer needed to make sacrifices because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice. It was syncretism at its finest.
When Europeans arrived in America, while they were cruel and violent compared to modern people, they had developed a revulsion toward sacrifice and cannibalism. And what the left doesn't want people to know is that many of the indigenous people in the Americas were grateful to get rid of those horrible practices.
Making this point is not the same as saying Europeans are superior and indigenous people inferior. It is, instead, that when two cultures meet, and one of them still functions at a Stone Age level, the culture that has evolved beyond human sacrifice and cannibalism is going to be appealing to the people who were the most likely victims of these practices.
Thus, indigenous people in the Americas were not only savvy people who allied themselves with various Europeans to gain an advantage against neighboring tribes, but many of them may also have willingly accepted Christianity rather than having it forced upon them. It's wrong to pretend, as the left does, especially when teaching our children, that the Americas were a paradise of innocent peace and beauty and that the European explorers were callous murderers who forced Christianity on these gentle Gaia-worshipers. As the skeletons in that cave show, the real picture is infinitely more complex and interesting.