Halloween is coming up and you're going to need a spooky story to tell the little ones in your social circle. If you've already told them the ones about the hitchhiker with the fork for a hand or the student loan debt they'll have to pay while facing a waning job market, some archaeologists digging at a site in Brazil have some more material for you.
A decapitated head at a burial site in a Brazilian rock shelter could represent the oldest known ritual decapitation in the Americas.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology located in Berlin published their findings in the journal PLoS ONE on Wednesday.
Archaeologists first discovered the decapitated head back in 2007 at the archaeological site Lapa do Santo, located about 300 miles (480 km) north of Rio de Janeiro. They believe the head was removed around 9,000 years ago as part of what may have been "sophisticated mortuary rituals" in a hunter-gatherer society, according to the study's abstract. This discovery could lead to "a re-evaluation of the previous interpretations of this practice, particularly with regards to its origins and geographic dispersion," according to a statement released by PLoS ONE.
If ritual decapitation isn't creepy enough for you, the skull was also buried with two hands draped over the face.
The Lapa do Santo dig site holds many treasures. A team of archaeologists from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil discovered a 10,000- to 12,000-year-old cave drawing in 2009 dubbed "the Horny Little Man" because of its large...well, you know. It is believed to be the oldest reliably dated cave drawing in the Americas.
I hope all this excavation doesn't lead to any kind of incarnated evil king raising an army of evil zombies scenario. Then again, fighting off an army of undead warriors would make for a pretty awesome Halloween story.