An Ancient Mass Grave Reveals 'First War Crime'

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An Ancient Mass Grave Reveals 'First War Crime'

 

In 2006, archaeologists discovered a site known as the Talheim Death Pit in Germany, during a road construction project at Schöneck-Kilianstädten. They immediately suspected that the ancient grave held massacre victims. Usually, early Neolithic burials hold one body per grave and contain various items. In this grave, the archaeologists found no grave goods nor any sign of care or ritual given to the bodies before they were buried. 

 

Photo Credit: The Sun

 

According to The Sun, a British national daily tabloid newspaper, the 7,000-year-old mass grave contained 26 adults and children: evidence of the world’s first war crime. Archaeologists discovered that the bodies had suffered blunt force injuries, which were likely carried out using Stone Age axes and other weapons. There are also several indications that they were ambushed, suggesting that the attack was caused by a feud over resources. 

 

Photo Credit: The Sun

 

The researchers found that 13 of the victims were children, 10 of them no older than six years old at the time of death. The youngest was likely just six months old. Also, they found no bodies of young women, suggesting that they took the girls captive after brutalizing their families. In an interview, Dr. Mark Golitko, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in Chicago, said, "It's not an isolated example of violence from this particular time period; it's part of a general pattern that we're beginning to see.”

 

Photo Credit: The Sun

 

Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, culture, and history, reported that the report contributes to the idea that the early Neolithic period was fairly violent. 

This is not the first time that they have discovered a mass grave. Researchers also found two other mass graves: one in Talheim, Germany, which had 34 bodies, and the other in Asparn/Schletz, Austria, with at least 67 individuals. Both of the ‘death pits’ date back to the early Neolithic period in central Europe, between 5600 B.C. and 4900 B.C.

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