British scientists have uncovered gruesome evidence of a millennia-old massacre.
The remains of victims – including children – were uncovered in La Hoya in the Spanish Basque Country.
It is believed that they existed between 350 and 200 BC. Were killed, at least one of which was beheaded by invaders.
Oxford University researchers examined 13 skeletons from the ancient burial site discovered in 1935.
Teresa Fernández-Crespo, who led the study, said: “A man suffered multiple frontal injuries, suggesting he is facing his attacker.
“This person was beheaded, but the skull was not recovered and possibly taken as a trophy.”
It is the first detailed analysis performed on the deceased.
A man and a woman had their arms cut off while a man was stabbed from behind, archaeologists concluded.
The study, published in Antiquity magazine, found that some victims died in burning buildings while some were left on the streets where they were killed.
The researchers wrote, “From this we can conclude that the attackers’ target was the total destruction of La Hoya.”
It is a key strategic location on the Spanish Atlantic coast.
It is believed that the city was protected by high walls to prevent attacks.
Ms. Fernández-Crespo said: “The new analysis of the human skeletal remains from La Hoya reminds us very strongly that the prehistoric past was not always the peaceful place where it can sometimes be found.”
It is believed that the city was abandoned after the attack.
No weapons were discovered to suggest that those who died could defend themselves.