A dart in a boy’s eye may have unleashed this legendary massacre 350 years ago

Massacre at Agaligmiut

Archaeologists have uncovered a 350-year-old massacre in Alaska that occurred during a war that may have started over a dart game. The discovery reveals the gruesome ways the people in a town were executed and confirms part of a legend that has been passed down over the centuries by the Yup’ik people.

A recent excavation in the town of Agaligmiut (which today is often called Nunalleq) has uncovered the remains of 28 people who died during the massacre and 60,000 well-preserved artifacts.

Agaligmiut had a large interconnected complex that was designed to make defense easier, said Rick Knecht and Charlotta Hillerdal, both archaeology lecturers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland who are leading the team that is excavating the site. “We found that it had been burned down and the top was riddled with arrow points,” Knecht told Live Science.

Some of the 28 people found “had been tied up with grass rope and executed,” said Knecht, adding that “they were face down and some of them had holes in the back of their skulls from [what] looks like a spear or an arrow.”

When exactly the massacre occurred is not certain, though Knecht said the complex was constructed sometime between A.D. 1590 and 1630. It was destroyed by an attack and fire sometime between 1652 and 1677, he added.

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