Mass grave of Crusade Christian soldiers discovered in Lebanon

Mass grave of Crusade Christian soldiers discovered in Lebanon

A pair of mass graves containing 25 Crusaders who were slaughtered during a 13th-century war in the Holy Land have been unearthed in Lebanon.

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

Wounds on the remains suggests the soldiers died at the end of swords, maces and arrows, and charring on some bones means they were burned after being dropped into the pit.

Other remains show markings on the neck, which likely means these individuals were captured on the battlefield and later decapitated.  

Historical records written by crusaders show that Sidon was attacked and destroyed in 1253 by Mamluk troops, and again in 1260 by Mongols, and the soldiers found in the mass graves likely perished in one of these battles.

The mass graves were found within the town walls and were rectilinear grave pits that also contained artifacts that belonged to the Crusaders.

Metal finds included copper alloy buckles and fittings, at least two different sizes of iron nails, other iron fittings, a silver coin, a silver finger-ring and a single copper alloy arrowhead.

Archaeologists knew the remains belonged to Crusaders after discovering the  European style belt buckles and a crusader coin within the graves.

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 teenage or adult males, indicating that they were combatants who fought in the battle when Sidon was attacked.'