THE unexpected discovery of 300 fossilised human remains in what’s thought to be a mass grave has stunned experts and hints at a violent conflict dating back 5,000 years.
Researchers found that injuries to the skulls indicate a highly unusual and savage conflict for the Neolithic era.
The find was originally made in a road in the Rioja Alavesa of Laguardia in the Basque country by excavators in 1985.
Further excavations revealed a 20sqm shelter which housed the human remains of around 338 individuals buried in ‘atypical positions,’ including face-down.
An armoury of 52 arrowheads, 64 cutting blades, two polished stone axes, and five tools made of bone were found alongside the remains.
The fossilised skulls showed signs of unhealed traumas, which indicate the injuries caused the person’s death, in up to 78 individuals.
The axes and arrowheads matched the injuries to the skulls and were determined to be the deadly weapons.
The team of scientists, led by Teresa Fernandez-Crespo, a professor at the University of Valladolid noted that damage to bones during violent conflicts are rare.
Usually it is the soft tissues which are catastrophically damaged.
Even in other cases of prehistoric massacres, the percentage of individuals affected by smashed up bones rarely exceeded half – indicating the extreme ferocity with which the people died.