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#18 Mass Decapitation Revealed at Israel Burial Site

Archaeologists in Jerusalem have unearthed the beheaded remains of some 125 men, women and children thought to have died more than 2,000 years ago, according to Haaretz.

The ancient bones found scattered in a water cistern align with historical accounts of a "brutal slaughter" described in academic commentaries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Times of Israel reported.

“We removed from the pit more than 20 neck vertebrae which were cut by a sword,” Israel Antiquities Authority anthropologist Yossi Nagar said during a presentation at the 12th Annual Conference on New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region, the publication reported. “We discovered in the pit, bodies and body parts of infants and adult individuals, women and men, who were probably victims of a brutal slaughter.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

The bones are thought to date from the reign of Judean king and high priest Alexander Jannaeus (103–76 B.C.)—a period characterized by bloody violence and ongoing power struggles, the Times stated. After a brutal six-year civil war, Jannaeus ordered the crucifixion of some 800 political opponents, according to interpretations of text from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Others, the publication reported, were beheaded.

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