The settlers were killed suddenly and almost at the same time, but they did not steal anything and left the bodies in their place of death.
Scientists have completed a preliminary investigation into the events that occurred in the 500th of AD at the Sandby Borg Fort where they mercilessly killed the settlers of the whole village right in their homes. This incident has become one of the most disturbing archaeological discoveries of late. The results of the study are reported in the journal Antiquity.
A team of scientists explored the location on the island of Eland near the southeast coast of Sweden. Now the settlement that was there can hardly be recognized: it looks like a green hill surrounded by stones. However, fifteen hundred years ago there was a rich and bright settlement of dozens of houses surrounded by five-meter walls.
The study lasted three years, the main source of data were the remains of settlers. Scientists have unearthed only 10% of the fort and found bones of 26 people, including several children. Many bodies were found right in the houses, and some were on the main street of the fort. Some of the settlers once tried unsuccessfully to burn alive, and one of them was piled into the fireplace.
The nature of the location of the bodies and the nature of their injuries indicate a sudden and violent attack: some died instantly, while others suffered from wounds. Also, the researchers found traces of half-eaten food and dishes standing in the houses. In their opinion, this again indicates that the settlers did not know what would happen.
The scientists were surprised that no one touched the bodies after the attack: the island of Åland was a quite settled place in the Middle Ages and included at least 15 forts and a thousand stone houses. However, the inhabitants of neighboring settlements seemed to have decided that the place was cursed, and did not even approach it. According to the Guardian, local residents warnedarchaeologists about the dangers of this place, despite the fact that there was no folklore background about this case.
Researchers are still not sure what exactly happened and caused the murders, but they connect it with the fall of the Roman Empire in 475 AD. The collapse of the country led to a change in political forces and the end of the trade agreements of the Swedish elites with Rome. Swedish mercenaries, who served in the Roman army, could return home and massacre, but for sure it is unknown.
Scientists believe that the attackers were much more than the settlers and they could not even provide a minimum defense due to the effect of surprise. Despite the fact that the settlement was rich, the killers did not steal anything: only in one of the houses archeologists found gold brooches, silver pendants, rings and a Roman gold coin.