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Human sacrifice: myth or reality? While gruesome depictions of violence and murder are found in the art and literature of many ancient societies, convincing physical evidence has been rare. From death pits in Sumer and China to child burials atop the misty peaks of the Andes, evidence of ancient ritual slaughter and sacrifice is now rising. Ann Gibbons describes what these execution sites can tell us about our ancestors, including why such acts may have at one time been socially accepted.