Archaeologists managed to reconstruct the rest of 25 individuals, all men, and analyzed their wounds.
A mass grave uncovered in Sidon, Lebanon, has shed new light on the Crusades and on the cruelty of medieval warfare, a new study in the academic journal PLOS ONE has shown. Archaeologists unearthed a large quantity of human bones in the moat of the Saint Louis Castle in South Lebanon. The area was first conquered by the Crusaders after the First Crusade in 1110. Some 150 years later, the Christian city was attacked and largely destroyed by the Mamluks in 1253 and then destroyed even more by the Mongols in 1260. Pursuing the idea of liberating the holy sites from Muslim rule and encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, European powers and sometimes peoples initiated several military campaigns in the Middle East during those centuries, which led to the establishment of a number of Christian states in the area of modern Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and for a certain period managed to place Jerusalem under Christian rule, following massacres against Jews, both in Europe and in the Middle East. While widely chronicled in historical documents, very few archaeological remains have been found documenting the battles. For this reason, the discovery of the mass grave offered unprecedented insights into warfare in medieval times, based on analysis of the type of wounds that were detected on the remains of approximately 25 individuals. “All the bodies were of teenage or adult males, indicating that they were combatants who fought in the battle when Sidon was attacked,” UK Bournemouth University archaeologist Dr Richard Mikulski, one of the excavators, and a lead author of the study, said. “When we found so many weapon injuries on the bones as we excavated them, I knew we had made a special discovery.”