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Mass grave discovered in Germany suggests a 7000 year old massacre

Ian Harvey
Photo credit: Christian Meyer. Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Violence is arguably the most studied and definitely the most vigorously discussed topic of all ages.

Those who even have a passing acquaintance with history could testify the role of violence in the formation of social fabric over the last many centuries, certainly since the recorded history began.

Or you can simply turn on your Television, and there you go; in 15 minutes you will be convinced of the role of violence in modern society (although media’s over-focus on violence is debatable).

“On one hand you are curious about finding out more about this, but also shocked to see what people can do to each other,” Christian Meyer, an archaeologist from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, told the Guardian newspaper.

Archaeology has also played a significant role in providing some concrete evidence on the role and nature of violence that prevailed in the past; it is certainly much more insightful and scary to see the impact of violence rather than simply read an account of it.

Recently a 7,000-year-old mass grave has been discovered in Germany that contained the remains of 26 men, women, and children.

There were clear indications of the violent nature of death these individuals endured; archaeologists are calling this the Neolithic massacre. Broken legs, heads smashed, and broken bones clearly speak volumes about the brutality exhibited by the perpetrators of the massacre.

The research and subsequent study is led by Bio-archaeologist Christian Meyer from the University of Mainz Germany.

Cranial-fracture. Photo credit: Christian Meyer. Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Cranial-fracture. Photo credit: Christian Meyer. Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz


Mr. Meyer explained that although there have always been speculations about the violent lives of our ancestors, however seeing the remnants of the massacre and that even in Europe is shocking to many experts.

The victims clearly suffered a great deal, said Mr. Meyer; they were tortured and killed with blunt force traumatic injuries. Meyer added that even after these individuals had died, their bodies were further mutilated, and there is enough evidence to support that.

“It was either torture or mutilation. We can’t say for sure whether the victims were still alive,” Meyer told the Associated Press.

The study clearly starts a new debate about the nature of violence that was rife in the Neolithic Europe. The researchers have now got a monumental task at hand, to try to find the possible reasons that brought these people to the stage where they could mercilessly have massacred whole families and possibly whole tribes.

Whether it was the way the Neolithic humans executed their justice i.e. punishing a whole group of people for a crime committed by one or more people?

Read another story from our vault: The ‘Giant’s Grave’ were used as a public tombs during the Bronze Age

Or it was the way of the powerful to embed their fear in the hearts of the people they aspired to rule, by massacring a significant chunk of their population; these are the key arenas now researchers are aspiring to explore in the light of the Neolithic Massacre’s discovery.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News