5,000-Year-Old Grave Reveals Mass Murder of Bronze Age Family

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5,000-Year-Old Grave Reveals Mass Murder of Bronze Age Family


In 2011, archeologists unearthed a late Neolithic burial during the construction of a sewage system near the town of Koszyce, southern Poland. Surprisingly, they found out that burial was different from the largest grave containing ruthlessly murdered victims from the Neolithic Period. This one was unique because they were buried in an organized way. The remains were also found to be related to one another. However, the reason why they were arranged like that has been a mystery ever since.

Last May, researchers from the Faculty of Science of the University of Copenhagen shed light on a mysterious 5000-year-old mass grave in Poland. Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, culture and history, said that the burial contained 15 remains of people killed about 5,000 years ago. But the burial was far from random; they were buried with care. Mothers were placed next to their children and siblings. 


A mass grave / Photo by: Schroeder, H et al via Live Science


Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, a professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, said, "We are dealing with what you might call an extended family. We were able to show that there are four nuclear families present and emphasized in the burial, but these individuals are also related to one another across these nuclear families — for example, being cousins." The report showed that whoever buried these people knew the deceased very well. 


3D rendition of the mass grave / Photo by: Michał Podsiadło via Live Science


According to an article by Science Daily, an American website that aggregates press releases and publishes lightly edited press releases about science, the researchers found out that most of the fathers from this extended family were not included in the grave. This suggests that they were not around when the massacre took place. However, the findings can’t pinpoint who was responsible for the killings. The massacre happened when the late Neolithic Period was transitioning into the Bronze. 

The findings suggest that the massacre was the result of violent territorial clashes. Niels N. Johannsen, an archaeologist from Aarhus University, said, "We know from other gravesite discoveries that violent conflicts played out among different cultural groups at this time.”


Koszyce, southern Poland where the mass grave was found / Photo by: Qqerim via Wikimedia Commons




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