Village Of Cannibals: Herxheim, Germany

“I believe in compulsory cannibalism. If people were forced to eat what they killed, there would be no more wars.” —Abbie Hoffman

In a Nutshell

Archaeological excavations at a site in Herxheim in southwestern Germany unearthed Stone Age mass graves with hundreds of human remains. The bones showed evidence of cannibalism. Exactly what happened and why these victims were butchered and eaten remains a subject of debate and bafflement.

The Whole Bushel

According to the lead anthropologist’s findings in 2009, the inhabitants of the settlement at Herxheim began expertly skinning and butchering other people—men, women, children, infants, and even a fetus, in around 5000 B.C.

The bones discovered at the site had tool marks showing where the meat had been scraped off. Other bones were broken open to allow access to the marrow, skulls were smashed for possible brain extraction, and the tongues were cut out. Certain patterns on the bones may indicate some of the victims were spit-roasted. While there is no doubt the victims were ritually slaughtered, some archaeologists remain doubtful the meat was consumed.

Distinct pottery fragments found with the bones of at least 500 people indicate the victims weren’t locals. For an unknown reason, they came from all over Europe, drawn to undertake difficult journeys to Herxheim from as far as 400 kilometers (250 mi) away.

Why the victims came to the village and why the people of Herxheim smashed their pottery, killed the people, and chopped them up is a mystery. By 4950 B.C., the small, enigmatic village at Herxheim was abandoned by its inhabitants for reasons which may not ever be determined (but certainly might have something to do with all the ritual sacrifice going on).

Show Me The Proof

Stone Age Mystery: German Excavation Reveals Signs of Mass Cannibalism
Mass cannibalism in the Linear Pottery Culture at Herxheim
National Geographic: Lost Cannibals of Europe

  • ThatFunkyMonk

    I wonder what human taste like? Hmm…

    • rhijulbec

      Supposed to taste like pork. lol

      • ThatFunkyMonk


    • Chicken.

  • rhijulbec

    Yummmm…dinner. Ewwwww. Sorry.

  • LOVE the quote

    • Phil_42

      You beat me to it… Great Quote.

  • Hillyard

    Does anyone know exactly where in SW Germany that village was? I’d like to check it out if I can.

    • Helen Magnus

      Modern Herxheim is by the border of Baden-Württemberg in Rheinland-Pfalz. About 10km from France. Apparently today, the village is in the centre of a traffic circle. Are you in Germany also?

      There was a great Doku on it by National Geographic Explorer called ” The Lost Cannibals Of Europe”.

      • Hillyard

        Well maybe I’ve driven over it. Yes I’m currently living in Ulm.

        • Helen Magnus

          Well, howdy, neighbour! We’re in Baden Baden. I’m kind of tempted to go check it out too. I mean, nice weather on the weekend, 40 min drive – nice!

          It’s directly due West of the modern Herxheim – check it out. The NW of the two-loop traffic circle. Zoom in on google maps and you can see all the excavation!

          • stingray68

            From local sources, have you learned anything more about the excavation or these unfortunate Stone Age inhabitants? Hard to piece anything together from this news story but it appears a settlement of immigrants from other parts of Europe were attacked and butchered. Clearly, xeonphobia is not a recent human phenomenon.

            BTW, I envy your residence in Germany- on business, I was fortunate to live for a bit in Trier and Heidelberg back in the 2000’s.

          • Helen Magnus

            Yes, actually, there is a documentary on this village that was incredibly informative – analysis of the diets of the victims, showing they came from all over Germany & France, trials showing that this precise butchery was absolutely possible with stone tools, and also collagen tests showing that they were cooked.

            Here’s a link to the full doku.


            As a bonus, the husband has agreed that we can take a day trip there – get some photos, maybe a skull…

  • disqus_t8VysXPYFg

    I would stop killing spiders and mosquitoes if that’s the rule.

  • Anyone for dinner?

  • I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

  • Kate

    Maybe they were eaten by aliens. They could have been hunted and brought to Herxheim where it was kind of like a restaurant.