Mass grave in Poland embodies the violent beginning of the Bronze Age

This is the Late Neolithic mass grave at Koszyce, Poland.

Enlarge / This is the Late
Neolithic mass grave at Koszyce, Poland. (credit: Image courtesy of
Piotr Wodarczak)

Sometime between 2880 and 2776 BCE, 15 family members were
hastily buried together in a single pit, their shattered skulls
telling a story of violent death. Yet someone interred the dead
with the pottery, tools, and ornaments typical of a proper burial
in their culture, a culture we know today by the name of its most
common ceramic artifact: the Globular Amphora. And someone seems to
have made the effort to put the closest family members alongside
one another in the pit.

Today, the grave near the village of Koszyce in southern Poland
is the only record of one particular act of brutal violence during
a turbulent time in European prehistory.

Out of the blue

It seems that no one in the seasonal camp of pastoralists was
prepared for the raiders. Nearly all of the dead are women and
children. Though women in the past (and today) could be formidable
fighters, no weapons are buried with them to suggest that was the
case here. Almost none of their bones show signs of broken limbs
raised in defense (known as parry fractures), so it doesn’t look
like they went down fighting. Instead, most appear to have died
from crushing blows to the back of their skulls, as if they’d
been captured and executed.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Mass grave in Poland embodies the violent beginning of the Bronze Age