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Cathaginian baby graveyard not for victims of child sacrifice

A new study of an ancient Cathaginian burial site suggests that the remains of thousands of babies there is not because of sacrificed children as it appears many of the remains may belong to still-born babies and fetuses.

Based on historical accounts, scientists believed Carthaginians sacrificed children at the Tophet before burying them there. For instance, the Bible describes child sacrifice to the deity Baal, worshipped by a civilization in Carthage. A Greek and a Roman historian both recount gory tales from this time period in which of priests slit the throats of babies and tossed them into fiery pits, Schwartz said. [8 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]

However, those accounts came from Carthage’s enemies. “Some of this might have been anti-Carthaginian propaganda,” Schwartz told LiveScience.

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Story: Tia Ghose, LiveScience | Photo: Dennis Jarvis, Flickr

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