A fascinating discovery has been uncovered during the construction of a road to a venue for the 2012 Olympics in London: The remains of 51 young men who were beheaded in what appears to be an execution by Anglo-Saxons of foreign invaders from Northern Europe.
Scientific examination indicates these executed individuals were from Sweden or other parts of Scandinavia, and they are being called “Vikings,” who apparently landed in England sometime between 890 and 1030 AD/CE.
Some of the grisly remains show multiple injuries as the victims were hacked apart, possibly indicative of extreme anger at previous raids by Vikings who plagued the coasts of Europe in search of plunder, slaughtering all in their path. Indeed, the Vikings are some of the most vicious and ferocious conquerors in history, a fact that is quite astonishingly juxtaposed to the state of civility for which Sweden, Norway and Denmark are known today.
It is also interesting that this violent group of warriors is nevertheless so esteemed that sports teams are named after them, people enjoy wearing horned helmets and slugging back big mugs of brew in emulation of them, and they appear in operas, cartoons, documentaries and other shows idolizing them, among assorted other laudatory activities.
They were 51 young men who met a grisly death far from home, their heads chopped off and their bodies thrown into a mass grave….
“To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development,” said David Score, project manager for Oxford Archaeology, which excavated the remains. “Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Dorset at this time.”
Radiocarbon dating had already placed the remains between A.D. 890 and 1030, before the Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England….
“What we found was all of these guys came from a climate that had to be colder than Britain … probably Sweden and Norway,” Evans said by phone Friday. “One guy had such a signature of such a cold climate that he probably came from above the Arctic Circle.”
The isotopes also show the men had eaten a high-protein diet, comparable to known sites in Sweden. It means the men were probably Scandinavian Vikings who were executed by Anglo-Saxons….
“These results are fantastic,” Evans said. “This is the best example we have ever seen of a group of individuals that clearly have their origins outside Britain.”
Many of the executed men suffered multiple wounds, inflicted by a sharp-bladed weapon, to the skull, jaw and upper spine, all thought to relate to the process of decapitation, the Dorset County Council said.
Some men show evidence of other wounds, including a cut to the pelvis, blows to the chest and stomach, and defensive injuries to the hands, the council said.
The bones still appear cleanly sliced, indicating the men suffered a “sword-based execution,” Evans said….