Original paper

Prehistoric massacre revealed. Perimortem cranial trauma from Potočani, Croatia

Janković, Ivor; Balen, Jacqueline; Ahern, James C. M.; Premužić, Zrinka; Čavka, Mislav; Potrebica, Hrvoje; Novak, Mario

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 74 No. 2 (2017), p. 131 - 141

published: Jul 1, 2017
published online: May 30, 2017
manuscript accepted: Dec 5, 2016
manuscript revision received: Dec 5, 2016
manuscript revision requested: Nov 17, 2016
manuscript received: Jul 19, 2016

DOI: 10.1127/anthranz/2017/0688

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP140007402005, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract During archaeological rescue excavations carried out in 2007 at Potočani in continental Croatia, a pit containing numerous human skeletal remains (MNI = 41) was discovered. The remains were mostly articulated but also commingled and showed no clear pattern of organization. There were no associated artifacts, just a few pottery fragments probably belonging to the Copper Age Lasinja Culture (c. 4300 to 3950 BCE). Anthropological analyses suggest the presence of individuals of all ages and both sexes with many crania exhibiting various perimortem injuries. Three human bone samples from different layers were dated to around 4100 cal BCE by radiocarbon analysis. These radiocarbon dates combined with other aspects of archaeological context, indicate that the deposition was a single episode rather than a long-term accumulation. All this suggests a single violent encounter (massacre). Here we present results of the bioarchaeological analysis of four adult crania with clear signs of perimortem trauma. These include blunt force trauma as well as cuts and penetrating injuries indicating the use of different weapons/tools.


violencemass gravePrehistoryinjuryCopper Age