France unearths bones from 6,000-yr-old Neolithic massacre

Archaeologists with the French National Institute of Archaeological Research (INRAP) uncover fossilized skeletons at Achenheim, on June 7, 2016 (AFP Photo/Philippe Lefranc) (INRAP/AFP)

Paris (AFP) - Archaeologists said Tuesday they had discovered the remains of a 6,000-year-old massacre that took place in Alsace in eastern France, saying it was likely carried out by "furious ritualised warriors".

At a site outside Strasbourg, the corpses of 10 individuals were found in one of 300 ancient "silos" used to store grain and other food, a team from France's National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) told reporters.

The Neolithic group appeared to have died violent deaths, with multiple injuries to their legs, hands and skulls.

The way in which the bodies were piled on top of each other suggested they had been killed together and dumped in the silo.

"They were very brutally executed and received violent blows, almost certainly from a stone axe," said Philippe Lefranc, a specialist on the period for Inrap.

The skeletons of five adults and one adolescent were found, as well as four arms from different individuals.

The arms were likely "war trophies" like those found at a nearby burial site of Bergheim in 2012, said Lefranc.

He said the mutilations indicated a society of "furious ritualised warriors", while the silos were stored within a defence wall that pointed towards "a troubled time, a period of insecurity".