6,000-year old massacre sheds light into Neolithic Age brutality and power struggle

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Bloodshed has had a baleful role in the history of mankind since the dawn of human communities. In fact, quite ironically, the measure of many ancient societies’ cohesive ‘progress’ is often judged by their ability to conduct and sustain warfare activities. But beyond objective analysis, warfare also played its part in brutal massacres even in Neolithic times – as is evident from a 6,000-year old massacre found in France. The site in question was discovered in Alsace, eastern France – and according to the archaeologists (from the country’s National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research or Inrap), the massacre was carried out by ‘furious ritualized warriors’.

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As for the scope this bloody episode, till now the researchers have found remains of 10 corpses ‘dumped’ inside one of the 300 silos, used for storing grain and other crop items. And judging by the variety of physical trauma on their bodies, these Neolithic group met quite a violent end, with multiple injuries to their legs, hands and skulls. Furthermore, notching it up on the grisly scale, five of these skeletons belonged to adults, one to an adolescent, and they were accompanied by severed hands of four other individuals – possibly alluding to gruesome war trophies. As Philippe Lefranc, an expert from Inrap, said –

They were very brutally executed and received violent blows, almost certainly from a stone axe.

Now while further genetic testing will reveal more precise information about this 6,000-year massacre, the researchers have hypothesized that the bloody episode was a part of a power struggle between the Alsace communities and the ‘Parisian’ newcomers who possibly encroached upon the former’s territory. And these Parisians had to pay their price in blood, with the Alsatians massacring a certain group from their ranks. However from the historical perspective, it was the Parisians were probably ultimately victorious, as the ‘new’ community supplanted the native Alsatian culture by the turn of 4200 BC.

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Via: The Guardian / Images Credit: Philippe Lefranc/AFP/Getty

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