A MASSACRE that happened 350 years ago could have started due to a fight over a simple darts game, according to new archaeological research.
Archaeologists recently discovered the gruesome remains of 28 bodies and over 60,000 well-preserved artefacts during an excavation in Alaska.
University of Aberdeen The 60,000 artefacts can tell us a lot about 17th Century Alaska
The discovery has helped to confirm part of an ancient legend that has been passed down over the centuries by the Yup’ik people who live in the Nunalleq area, which was once called Agaligmiut.
Mutilated skeletons at the site also reveal a lot about the gruesome ways in which people would be executed at the time and most of them were women, children and elderly men.
Rick Knecht, one of the leaders of the project and an archaeology lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, told Live Science that some of the bodies “had been tied up with grass rope and executed.”
He added: “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.”
University of Aberdeen The bodies found at the site are thought to have suffered gruesome deaths
University of Aberdeen The excavation site is based on the coast of Alaska
According to an ancient legend, the remains depict a massacre that happened after a conflict started during a game of darts when one boy hit another boy in the eye with a dart.
The father of the injured boy is then said to have knocked out both the eyes of the boy who caused his son’s injury and then his father retaliated and the conflict escalated, with lots of people getting involved.
This fight was then said to start a series of wars across Alaska and the Yukon.
University of Aberdeen Some of the artefacts could have had religious ritual purposes
Knecht has stressed that there of a number of tales that claim to depict the start of the conflict but reasons that colder weather at the time could have have caused a food shortage, which might have also caused a conflict.
The mass of well-preserved artefacts discovered, including, dolls, figurines, wooden dance masks and grass baskets, can tell us a lot about what life was like in Agaligmiut before its inhabitants met their dreary end.
The figurines and dolls could have been used for religious purposes or playing and some of them have been so well preserved by cold conditions that they could be used today.
Precisely when the massacre occurred is not known but the complex in which it happened was built between A.D. 1590 and 1630 and was destroyed by an attack and a fire between 1652 and 1677.
Historians refer to this time period in 17th Century Alaska as “the bow and arrow wars” due to a series of conflicts around the time.
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What do you think of the new archaeological discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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