Archaeologists investigating an ancient Neolithic settlement in Slovakia have discovered the bruised remains of about 35 people, many of them teenagers, who appear to have been dismembered. head and then thrown into a ditch nearly 7,000 years ago.
According to the researchers, the location of this summer’s grisly find and the location of the skeletons suggest that the victims were purposefully thrown there, possibly by human sacrifices to strengthen the body. miraculously fortified a defensive wall built on the moat, according to researchers
“I think it has something to do with the magical ideas of how to define and strengthen colonies,” Martin Furholt, professor of prehistoric and social archeology at the University, told Live Science, Kiel University in Virtue.
“We have a ditch around a place where people live, and then you put people in the ditch – whether they were killed intentionally or died of natural causes – because there can be ideas of magical or symbolic powers that these [dead] people had,” he said
Furholt and his colleagues at the University of Kiel – formerly Kiel Christian-Albrecht University – have been working since 2012 at the Vráble site in Slovakia, close to that country’s borders with Austria and Hungary, along with other scientists from the Archaeological Institute of Slovakia. Academy. of science (AVS).
The site is an ancient settlement of the Neolithic LBK culture, named for the German term “Linearbandkeramik”, which means “linear banded pottery” and refers to the type of pottery that they make.
Furholt says that the ancestors of the inhabitants of Vráble seem to have arrived in what is now Greece from Anatolia (now Turkey) about 1,500 years earlier The LBK culture has since spread to many parts of Europe, and they may be the ancestors of early Neolithic settlers in Western Europe who built megalithic structures such as Stonehenge in England and Carnac in France, he said
The old mass grave is located near one of the entrances to Vráble’s settlement, and some aspects suggest that those thrown into it were intentionally killed, possibly by beheading.
Zuzana Hukeľová, an SAV anthropologist involved in the excavation, told Live Science: “At the scene, we did not notice any obvious signs of trauma or pathological changes.” “However, the bodies did not have skulls and we still don’t know how and when the heads were removed.”
“[Beheading] can be one of the possible causes of death,” she said. The bodies lie in various positions — lying on their back, on their sides, on their stomach, or with their arms and legs spread wide and bent at the elbows and knees, “like a swimming frog,” says Hukeľová. “This is one of the locations where the body was most likely thrown into the pit.”
Most of those killed appeared to be young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 when they were killed, and some appeared to be between the ages of 25 and 35 But there were no adults or elderly people, and only an infant, who was also the only one buried with his skull “We will know more once the skeletons are analyzed,” she said
Ancient mysteryFurholt said the Neolithic settlement of Vráble consisted of up to 80 “castles” at a time, with each longhouse housing one or more large families The settlement was divided into three distinct quarters, and it appears that the defensive wall and moat were built around a quarter during the later stages of the occupation, possibly an attempt to keep people out. into other areas. “Only one of these neighborhoods benefits from this type of fortification, and it has six entrances, but none of them connect this neighborhood to the others,” he said “It made us think that it wasn’t defensive against someone from the outside, it was a kind of internal division where they tried to block access to their neighbours.”
Christian Meyer, an archaeologist at the Center for Archaeological Research (OsteoARC) in Goslar, Germany, was not involved in the Vráble excavation but has studied mass violence at other LBK sites (opens in tabs) new).
He told Live Science in an email: “Explains such as massacre, execution, torture, mutilation and various ways of behaving have been suggested. “Given what is known about this archaeological culture, the discovery of what appears to be another mass grave is not surprising.”
An unusual feature of the Vráble mass grave is that the people buried there are headless. Meyer says it “seems to be the most striking and possibly profound,” adding that it deserves further explanation “This site will advance our knowledge of social interactions and how to treat the living and the dead at this time, thousands of years ago,” he said.