A pretty gruesome discovery in east-central Brazil has demonstrated that ceremonial decapitation was part of cultural practice 9000 years ago. Whilst modern society is horrified by the cultural decapitation of a corpse, this new discovery suggests that the hunter-gatherers of ancient Brazil had mortuary rights associated with the post-mortem manipulation of the body. Previously, cultural decapitation was known from Andean peoples so this new discovery extends the practice to the eastern side of the continent. The authors of the study, published in PLOSOne, suggest that the absence of goods or architecture may mean that the decapitation might have been a means of expressing cosmological beliefs about the death of the individual.