Radiocarbon dating religion
It found cultures with the highest level of stratification were most likely to practice human sacrifice (67%, or 18 out of 27).Of cultures with moderate stratification, 37% used human sacrifice (17 out of 46) and the most egalitarian societies were least likely to practice human sacrifice (25%, or five out of 20)."The mornings here are beautiful," he says, gesturing regally with his cane, his white hair wild from sleep."No wife, no children, just the silence, God, and the ruins." Where others see only sand and scrub, Sarianidi has turned up the remnants of a wealthy town protected by high walls and battlements.Researchers from the University of Auckland’s School of Psychology, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany and Victoria University, wanted to test the link between how unequal or hierarchical a culture was – called social stratification – and human sacrifice.“Religion has traditionally been seen as a key driver of morality and cooperation, but our study finds religious rituals also had a more sinister role in the evolution of modern societies,” says lead author of the study Joseph Watts from the University of Auckland.
Harvard University archaeologist Carl Lamberg-Karlovsky believes the excavation at Gonur is "a major event of the late 20th century," adding that Sarianidi deserves credit for discovering the lost Oxus culture and for his "30 consecutive years of indefatigable excavations." To some other researchers, however, Sarianidi seems more desert eccentric than dispassionate scholar.For starters, his techniques strike many colleagues as brutish and old-fashioned.These days Western archaeologists typically unearth sites with dental instruments and mesh screens, meticulously sifting soil for traces of pollen, seeds, and ceramics."Everyone opposes me because I alone have found these artifacts," he thunders during a midday break. "It was more free because it was more ancient," he says.During the 1950s he drifted, spending seasons between digs unemployed.
They traded with distant cities for ivory, gold, and silver, creating what may have been the first commercial link between the East and the West.