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Unearthing the History of Execution

Monday, April 15, 2013


THURINGIA, GERMANY—The remains of some 70 people executed 700 years ago were found in a mound in eastern Germany, near the town of Alkersleben. Archaeologist Marita Genesis is studying the bones at the Thuringia State Office for the Preservation of Monuments. She has learned that one of the bodies had been tied up, one had been buried next to a strangulation chain, and a third had been buried with a sharp blade. “Some outlaws were hung so long by their necks that they decayed and fell down. Then they were contemptuously disposed of in unhallowed ground. There is no mention of this in any of the old documents,” explained historian and author Jost Auler. He is known for his work in the area of “execution site archaeology.”