Displaying broken skulls, amputated arms and destroyed legs, archaeologists in France announced an ancient massacre site from more than 6,000 years ago.
In Achenheim, a small village 15 miles from Strasbourg, an archaeological team from INRAP, who participates in preventive archaeological digs before major construction projects, made a macabre discovery while exploring ancient silos where grain and other items were stored in a long-gone village. At the bottom of one of the silos, researchers exhumed 10 humans who were clear victims of violence.
The final resting place seems to be deliberate and may have been where the bodies were dumped or buried. Archaeologists found six complete adult skeletons and one adolescent, all laying in different poses, including on their back, side and front. All skeletons were male and researchers believe they could be warriors. There were numerous fractures on the legs, hands and head. At least one hip was discovered with a stone arrow laying within it.
A raid gone bad
"The individuals were severely tortured and had received violent cuts, without a doubt assassinated by a stone club," said Philippe Lefranc, a neolithic specialist with INRAP. He added that they also found four arms from three men and one young man. "These arms were, without a doubt, war trophies," he said.
"Why were they put to death, this carnage on their bodies and mutilations, if it's not for an expression of ritualistic war fury?" Lefranc asked. "The trophy gives prestige and social status," said Lefranc who recalled certain rites of American Indians from ancient times.
Genetic analysis of the bones will give some hints to better understand the discovery. Philippe Lefranc advanced a theory: "A warrior raid from the people living in the parisian basin had gone wrong for the assailants. The Alsaciens of the era massacred them."
The INRAP team of archaeologists manually sifted the site in the city of Achenheim, about 15 miles west of Strasbourg.
A stone arrow was found on the hip of an adult male.
The numerous fractures suggest the head was bashed by a club.
In this pit, the remains of 10 individuals were found by INRAP archaeologists.
Archaeologists found six complete skeletons randomly "tossed" onto their backs, fronts and side.
The INRAP team of archaeologists manually sifted the site in the city of Achenheim, about 15 miles west of Strasbourg.
This man laying on his stomache presents multiple fracture along the tibia.
Les hommes présentent de nombreuses fractures notamment aux jambes, aux mains et au crâne.
The men had many fractures, notably on the legs, hands and head.
The remains of a 6,000-year-old massacre.
General view of the pits at the dig site in Achenheim.


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Clinton Gillespie is editor