Back in 2011, archaeologists discovered a mass grave near Koszyce, Poland. The site held the skeletons of several men, women, and children, all with their skulls smashed.
Radiocarbon measurements determined the remains to be around 5,000 years old, dating back to roughly 2880-2776 BC. The discovery offered historians a new view on the beginning of the Bronze Age in Europe.
After inspecting the skeletons closer, scientists concluded that they were victims of cold-blooded murder, all of them having received vicious strikes to the head. The found remains were neatly arranged alongside a rich collection of valuables, which experts concluded was a formal funeral practice.
Mass Grave Found In Poland Reveals Tragic Backstory
The objects found at the site suggested the bodies were members of the Globular Amphora culture, known for their spherical earthenware and tendency to have pigs as livestock. The origins of this culture are still unknown, but some believe it is a product of migration and cultural influence.
DNA tests of the remains offered new information on the ancestry of the Globular Amphora community. It seems they were descendants of Neolithic farmers and western hunter-gatherers, which makes them related to the Zlota cultural group. The researchers speculate that the bodies found in the mass grave were victims of an assault conducted by the Corded Ware community, neighbors of the Globular Amphora people. Even more, the gene pools indicate they were all members of the same family.
The positions of the bodies help create an image of what happened to the victims. The mothers were placed next to their children. Since there were only two male skeletons found, scientists believe the attack took place when most of the men of the family were out. Because the bodies were positioned based on their kindred relationships, archaeologists think whoever buried them was a close relative.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.