Cannibalism in the Canyon

Cannibalism in the Canyon takes a look at the newly discovered archaeological findings which suggest an ancient american native culture called the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloans) were cannibals.

Human remains found at a twelfth-century A.D. site near Cowboy Wash in southwestern Colorado provide further evidence of cannibalism among the Anasazi.

The remains of 12 people were discovered at the site (designated 5MT10010), but only five were from burials.

The other seven appear to have been systematically dismembered, defleshed, their bones battered, and in some cases burned or stewed, leaving them in the same condition as bones of animals used for food.

Cut marks, fractures, and other stone-tool scars were present on the bones, and the light color of some suggests stewing.

Patterns of burning indicate that many were exposed to flame while still covered with flesh, which is what would be expected after cooking over a fire.

Was there a ceremonial purpose to this? Was it just common practice at this time? Or was this a way to create psychological warfare by eating and scaring their enemies?

Although Archaeologists still debate when the Anasazi emerged, the current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC. – known as the Early Basketmaker era.

From their emergence, The Anasazi would continue to expand and still create habitations up and beyond the Pueblo Periods, ranging from 750 – 1600 AD.

The Anasazi usually lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, and cliff-sited dwellings for defense. So far, ruins of their long lost culture have been found in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, USA.

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Cannibalism in the Canyon
  • Info
  • Release date17 May 2000
  • Full runtime48 minutes
  • Part of the seriesSecrets of the Dead
  • Directed byLarry Engel
  • Narrated byPiers Gibbon
  • Production companies3BM Television, Engel Entertainment