What archaeologists have discovered in northern Spain is not for the faint of heart: the skeletons of men, women and children died as their bodies stabilized in time, their limbs scattered.
The thousand-year-old peaceful end of La Hoa village did not come. Researchers already knew that the brutal massacre destroyed the last inhabitants of the site. Archaeologists have been excavating the village since 1973.
So far, however, only 15% have been identified. New research continues to provide clues about how the attack happened – and who the victims were. Recently, a team set out to analyze 13 skeletons found at the site. Their results, published in the journal Antiquity on Thursday, show that the remains are of nine adults, two teenagers, a 3-year-old child and a 6-month-old infant.
The new analysis paints a violent picture of the destruction of the village. Examination of the bones suggests that the attackers used blade metal weapons such as swords or axes to destroy the villagers. Thirty of the victims, a 30-year-old man and a teenage girl, both had their hands amputated. The young woman’s hand was found on several legs from her body, indicating that she had lost the tightness of her attack or had broken long enough to walk away from her attacker before she could strike again.
His hand was still found around the wrist with a chain of bracelets.
Evidence was also found that at least one victim, a 35-year-old woman, had confronted her attacker.
Leading author of the research, Dr. A man suffered multiple frontal injuries, indicating he was facing his attacker, Fernandez-Crespo said in a statement. “This person was beheaded but the skull was not recovered, and it could be taken as a trophy.”
The man was lying on the street near the main square of the village.
Other skeletons were set on fire by an extensive fire that engulfed the houses, the study found. Those who did not die on the street were probably burned inside their homes.
Many personal belongings were also found on the site – a sign that no one was able to reclaim them.
“We can conclude that the intent of the attackers was the complete destruction of La Hoya,” the researchers said in a statement.
If the village had not been attacked, the skeletons would not have been preserved, as the villagers of La Hoya usually performed the final rites of their corpses.
Attack on the greedy ground
The attack probably didn’t come out of nowhere: B.C. At the end of the 3rd century BC, La Hoya was a famous site during the Iron Age, thanks to its fertile land and close proximity to the Cantabrian and Mediterranean regions.
On his venture, the village of 1,500 persons was relatively urbanized, with paved sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. It also had protective walls around it to protect it from invaders.
This means that the group that destroyed the site must be large and well-organized. While the Romans had not yet arrived in the region, researchers believe the attackers must have been fellow Spaniards who wanted to gain control of the land.
The remains, they wrote, showed “evidence of a surprise attack, which resulted in the haphazard and brutal killing of helpless or vulnerable people.”
Earlier archaeological evidence gave the impression that the region was less violent during the Iron Age, but the massacre is a sign that there was a vicious conflict in Spain at that time. The war is a reminder that the war affects all communities – not just those involved in the war, the researchers said.