Mass graves with remains of 25 Christian soldiers who were attacked from behind or decapitated during a 13th century Crusade are unearthed in Lebanon

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  • Mass graves found at Sidon Castle on the eastern Mediterranean coast of South Lebanon
  • Records show that two wars were fought there – one by Mamluk troops in 1253 and again by the Mongols in 1260.
  • The crusaders’ bodies show signs of beheading and attacking from behind, suggesting that they were fleeing the battlefield when killed

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A pair of mass graves containing 25 crusaders killed during 13th-century warfare in the Holy Land have been discovered in Lebanon.

A team of international archaeologists uncovered gruesome scenes at Sidon Castle on the eastern Mediterranean coast of south Lebanon.

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Wounds on the remains show that the soldiers died at the end of the sword, mace and arrow, and some grazed on the bones implying that they were burned after being dropped into the pit.

Other remains show marks on the neck, implying that these individuals were captured on the battlefield and later beheaded.

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Historical records written by the Crusaders state that Sidon was attacked and destroyed by Mamluk troops in 1253, and then by the Mongols in 1260, and soldiers found in mass graves were likely to be killed in one of these battles. There was a possibility.

Mass graves of 25 crusaders killed during 13th century war have been unearthed in Lebanon

The Crusades were a series of religious wars fought between 1095 and 1291 in which Christian invaders tried to claim the Near East, including Lebanon, where 25 dead soldiers were found.

Mass tombs were found within the city walls and were directly tomb pits that also contained artifacts related to the Crusaders.

“Within the grave pit (burial 110) a variety of artifacts were found scattered between human and non-human bones, with no immediate pattern,” the study, published in the journal, said. one more.

‘The discovery of metal included buckles and fittings of a copper alloy, an iron nail of at least two different sizes, other iron fittings, a silver coin, a silver finger ring, and a copper alloy’ Arrows included.

A team of international archaeologists uncovered gruesome scenes at Sidon Castle on the eastern Mediterranean coast of southern Lebanon

A team of international archaeologists uncovered gruesome scenes at Sidon Castle on the eastern Mediterranean coast of southern Lebanon

Mass graves were found within the city walls and were directly tomb pits that also contained artifacts that pertained to the Crusaders.

Mass graves were found within the city walls and were directly tomb pits that also contained artifacts that pertained to the Crusaders.

‘Other finds include medieval pottery, remnants of the Persian period, fragments of glass, and a small piece of burnt, twisted fiber.’

Archaeologists knew that the remains belonged to Crusaders after the discovery of European-style belt buckles and a Crusader coin within the tombs.

DNA and isotope analysis of their teeth further confirmed that some of the men originated in Europe, while others were the offspring of Crusader settlers who moved to the ‘Holy Land’ and intermarried with local people.

The team went to the grave pits to take a closer look at the pile of bones, which showed that several soldiers were attacked from behind as they were fleeing the battle.

Archaeologists knew that the remains belonged to Crusaders after the discovery of European-style belt buckles and a Crusader coin within the tombs.

Archaeologists knew that the remains belonged to Crusaders after the discovery of European-style belt buckles and a Crusader coin within the tombs.

Others have sword wounds on the back of their necks, indicating that they were probably captives who were executed by slayings after the battle.

Dr Richard Mikulski of Bournemouth University, who excavated and analyzed the skeletal remains and worked with the archaeologists at the Sidon excavation site, explained, ‘All the bodies were of juveniles or adult males, indicating that they were fighters who fought. fought when Sidon was attacked.

‘When we found so many weapons on the bones that we excavated them, I knew we had made a special discovery.’

DNA and isotope analysis of their teeth further confirmed that some of the men originated in Europe, while others were the offspring of Crusader settlers who moved to the 'Holy Land' and intermarried with local people.

DNA and isotope analysis of their teeth further confirmed that some of the men originated in Europe, while others were the offspring of Crusader settlers who moved to the ‘Holy Land’ and intermarried with local people.

Others have sword wounds in the back of their necks, indicating that they were probably captives who were executed by slaying after the battle.

Others have sword wounds in the back of their necks, indicating that they were probably captives who were executed by slaying after the battle.

Bournemouth University associate Dr Martin Smith said Statement: ‘It took a great deal of work to differentiate between so many mixed bodies and body parts, but we were eventually able to separate them and see the pattern of wounds they formed.’

‘The way the body parts were positioned suggests that they were left to rot on the surface before being dropped into the pit sometime later. Grazing on some bones suggests that they used fire to burn some dead bodies.’

Dr Piers Michel of the University of Cambridge, who was a Crusader expert on the project, explained: ‘Crusader records tell us that King Louis IX of France was on a crusade in the Holy Land at the time of his attack on Sidon in 1253.

‘He went to the city after the war and personally helped bury the decaying corpses in mass graves like these. Wouldn’t it be surprising if King Louis himself helped to bury these bodies?’

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