1,000-yr-old Viking massacre remains unearthed in Oxford

November 8th, 2010 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 8 (ANI): Archaeologists have revealed that Viking skeletons found buried beneath an Oxford college two years back were the victims of brutal ethnic cleansing 1,000 years ago.

Experts were mystified when they discovered a mass grave beneath a quadrangle a St John’s College, St Giles, in 2008, reports the Oxford Mail.

But, after two years of CSI-style detective work, they believe they can pinpoint the exact day in 1002 AD that Danish settlers were rounded up on the streets of Oxford and murdered, before being carted out of the city gates and dumped in a ditch.

Thames Valley Archaeological Services (TVAS) uncovered the remains of 34 to 38 young men in March 2008, during excavations for a new college building.

Bone experts realised they had been murdered as their skeletons were left with cracked skulls, stab wounds in their spines and pelvic bones, and there were signs of burning.

Tests dated them to between 960 and 1020 AD, and archaeologists first thought they were the remains of executed Saxon criminals.

But when the chemical composition of the bones was analysed, they revealed the men ate far more fish and shellfish than Anglo-Saxons, suggesting they were Viking settlers from Denmark.

Project leader Sean Wallis, of TVAS, believes they were killed on St Brice’s Day, November 13, 1002 AD, when King Aethelred the Unready ordered Englishmen across his kingdom to murder their Danish neighbours.

Documentary evidence shows Oxford residents rounded up the Danes and massacred them, burning down a wooden church where they fled for safety. (ANI)

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