An extended family met a grim end when 15 of them were brutally murdered — killed by vicious blows to the head — about 5,000 years ago in what is now Poland. But though these victims were violently killed, whoever buried them did so with care, placing mothers next to children and siblings side by side, a new study shows.
In other words, the placement of bodies in this burial was far from random.
The burial shows “kids next to parents, brothers next to each other [and the] oldest person close to center,” said study co-lead researcher Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, a professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, in Denmark.
Archaeologists learned about the late Neolithic burial during the construction of a sewage system in 2011, near the town of Koszyce in southern Poland.
The newly described burial is unique, because the individuals were related to one another and weren’t buried haphazardly, according to a genetic analysis on the remains.