Remains were found under the foundations of Břeclav Castle in the south of the country, and they may have been sacrificed a millennium ago to “appease spirits of the land”.
Archaeologists have discovered three skeletons under the foundations of Břeclav Castle, located in the south of the Czech Republic. The bones are over a thousand years old and probably belonged to victims of human sacrifices carried out at the time.
“The discovery suggests that these people were tied up and killed violently,” said Miroslav Dejmal, a researcher at Masaryk University who participated in the excavations, in an interview with the Czech newspaper Blesk. “There are also remains of a large metallic object in all the bodies, which we have not yet identified.”
According to the researcher, people were killed at the beginning of the construction of the castle and then placed on the first layer of stones on a wall of the building. In an article published in JSTOR in 2018, researcher Amelia Soth explains that, in medieval times, the construction of a structure or edification was an “affront to the spirits and divinities of the land” and, to appease them, sacrifice rituals were performed in different regions of Europe.
Dejmal explained that, although Christianity existed at the time the ritual was performed, several pagan customs persisted for a long time. “So far, these are hypotheses that we and other specialists will explore,” said the researcher. “However, it is already clear that this is a truly rare discovery from a national perspective.”
The specialist intends to conduct more in-depth analyzes of the remains to determine who these ancient skeletons belonged to. “We’ll see if we can find out if they were related or whether they were ‘locals’,” Dejmal told the Archeology News Network. “It has been suggested that they might be slaves, possibly prisoners of war, who were used to build the walls and then perhaps sacrificed or executed.”