This Recently Discovered Fifth-Century Massacre in Sweden Is So Game of Thrones We Can’t Even Handle It

Inside House 40, archeologists found a young victim of the massacre.
Photo: Kalmar County Museum

Scientists in Sweden have completed a preliminary investigation of one of the most disturbing archaeological sites to be uncovered in recent memory. Over 1,500 years ago, scores of villagers were mercilessly killed in their homes by an unknown band of marauders, who left the bodies where they fell. And inexplicably, the killers refrained from collecting the many riches that lay inside the village.

As a new study published today in the science journal Antiquity makes painfully clear, life during the early Middle Ages was rough. A team of archaeologists led by Clara Alfsdotter and Helena Victor has completed a survey of Sandby Borg, a fifth-century fort located on the shore of Öland island near the southeast coast of Sweden (borg means fort in Swedish). Today, the ring fort is barely recognizable, a green mound encircled by rocks. But back then, it was a vibrant and wealthy community containing dozens of small homes, all protected by 16-foot-high walls.

Be the first to comment