Human sacrifice may seem brutal and bloody by modern social standards, but it was a common in ancient societies.
Now, researchers believe the ritualised killing of individuals to placate a god played a role in building and sustaining stable communities with social hierarchies.
In particular, a study of 93 cultures across Asia, Oceana and Africa, has found the practices helped establish authority and set up class-based systems.
Human sacrifice was once widespread throughout these Austronesian cultures, which used it as the ultimate punishment, for funerals and to consecrate new boats.
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