A Systems Approach to Crisis Preparedness and Organizational Resilience

Home | Topic Index | Course Info | Student websites | Organizations | Class Sessions | Discussion | Site Map | Video | Quotes | Links 


Under conditions of famine, human beings commonly resort to cannibalism.

Examples from Ancient History

Large amounts of "butchered human" bones found in Paleolithic sites indicate that cannibalism was common in these societies. Famine is the likely cause, as bones at the site indicate malnourishement. [1]

German researchers have documented 1,891 signs of cannibalism in the caves at the Hönne (1000 - 700 BC). [2] Extensive evidence of Iron Age (about 2000 years ago) cannibalism has likewise been found in Great Britain.[3]

Cannibalism is mentioned many times in early history and literature as a recourse during famine, e.g., in the Bible (2 Kings 6:25–30) during the siege of Samaria. Flavius Josephus reported cannibalism during Roman sieges of Numantia in the second century BC and Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Easter Island inhabitants were reduced to cannibalism after total deforestation left them without building material or means for husbandry, e.g., without trees and wood, it was very difficult to avoid soil erosion, which made agriculture extremely tenuous. [4]

Other pacific islands that may have suffered similar fates include New Zealand [5], the Solomon Islands [6], Fiji[7], New Guinea [8], Polynesia and Sumatra [9]. Conclusive evidence of cannibalism has also been found among the Anasazi [10], another society which suffered environmental collapse. [11]

Examples from Recent History

Credible reports of modern cannibalism include:

sff 2011-01-15
update sff 01-25

 Navigate to famine page; to Impending Global Crises


Topics All  |  Crisis Topics  | Global Crises  |  Resilience Topics  | Resilience Tools | linkedin discussion group

Home  |  Author Index  |  Course Info  | Class Sessions  |  Field Trips  |  Organizations  |  Videos  |  Links  |  Quotes

Date Page Created: Apr 20, 2011 Last Page Update: Apr 5, 2011