Prehistoric mass grave contained 26 brutally beaten victims

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Prehistoric Mass Grave Contained 26 Brutally Beaten Victims

People are capable of committing unspeakably brutal acts, and based on a prehistoric mass grave uncovered by scientists, that's been the reality for a very long time.

The site, dating between about 5200 and 4850 BC was discovered near what is now Frankfurt, Germany. Excavations yielded the remains of 26 Neolithic individuals who appear to have been tortured and killed. Among them, adults and children were represented in equal proportions.

SEE MORE: Ancient tooth provides evidence of prehistoric dentistry

The implement used to take their lives is believed to be a tool widely used at the time. Also observed was that the victims' lower legs were broken, possibly in attempt to keep them from running to safety.

Notably, there were no teenagers found, suggesting that they either did manage to escape or were abducted by the invaders.

Click for more images of the grisly find:
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Prehistoric grave
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Prehistoric mass grave contained 26 brutally beaten victims
Photo released Monday Aug. 17, 2015 by researcher Christian Meyer shows the fractured skull of an about eight-years-old child with a digital mark (3cm=1.18 inch) to show the size. The perimortem cranial injury in the frontal bone of the child that lived in the Stone Age was found on skeletal remains in a grave near Frankfurt, Germany, that bear signs of terrible violence some 7,000 years ago, rare evidence, scientists say, of a massacre among Europe’s prehistoric people. (Christian Meyer via AP)
Photo released Monday Aug. 17, 2015, by researcher Christian Meyer shows the fractured skull of an about 3-5 years-old child with a digital mark (3cm=1.18 inch) to show the size. The perimortem cranial injury of the child that lived in the Stone Age was found on skeletal remains in a grave near Frankfurt, Germany, that bear signs of terrible violence some 7,000 years ago, rare evidence, scientists say, of a massacre among Europe’s prehistoric people. (Christian Meyer via AP)
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Why the conflict broke out is unclear, but it probably had something to do with drought, unsuccessful farming, and food shortages. While hunters and gatherers typically just moved elsewhere when resources became scarce or the neighbors turned violent, the more settled people of the time were often reluctant to relocate.

Further theorized is that killers believed their victims had a hand in the crop failures, possibly through witchcraft.

Related: See finds from colonial Jamestown, including evidence of early cannibalism:
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Skeletons from Jamestown
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Prehistoric mass grave contained 26 brutally beaten victims
A well-preserved silver box believed to be a Catholic reliquary is displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. The box was found resting on top of the coffin of Capt. Gabriel Archer at the site of the 1608 Anglican church at the historic Jamestown colony site in Virginia. The box is surrounded by replicas of what is believed to be inside the firmly sealed box--seven bone fragments and two pieces of a lead ampulla, a container used to hold holy water. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Doug Owsley, division head for Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, displays the skull of "Jane of Jamestown" during a news conference at the museum in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Scientists announced during the news conference that they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism presenting the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl, "Jane" that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A well-preserved silver box believed to be a Catholic reliquary is displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. The box was found resting on top of the coffin of Capt. Gabriel Archer at the site of the 1608 Anglican church at the historic Jamestown colony site in Virginia. The box is surrounded by replicas of what is believed to be inside the firmly sealed box--seven bone fragments and two pieces of a lead ampulla, a container used to hold holy water. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Strike marks are seen on the skull of "Jane of Jamestown" during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Scientists announced during the news conference that they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism presenting the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl, "Jane" that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Strike marks are seen on the skull of "Jane of Jamestown" during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Scientists announced during the news conference that they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism presenting the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl, "Jane" that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Numerous small knife cuts and punctures in the mandible of "Jane of Jamestown" are seen during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Scientists announced during the news conference that they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism presenting the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl, "Jane" that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 2013: In this handout provided by Smithsonian, 17th-century human remains that were excavated from James Fort, Jamestown, Virgina by William Kelso, chief archeologist at Jamestown Rediscovery Project, and analyzed by Douglas Owsley, division head for physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History are photographed in January 2013 in Washington, DC. On May 1, Owsley and Kelso announced that the remains were evidence of survival cannibalism during the 'starving time' over the winter of 1609-10 in historic Jamestown. (Photo by Don Hurlbert/Smithsonian/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: View of sharp cuts on the human jaw bone of 'Jane', a 17th teenager from Jamestown at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC on May 1, 2013. Forensic experts believe that after examining the incomplete skull and tibia of the girl, that after her death, she was consumed by colonists there during a rough winter of 1609-1610 wherein 200 colonists died. The find of physical evidence by Jamestown Archeologists reveals startling survival tactics at the historic colony. Smithsonian anthropologists and archeologists believe that chop marks on her skull indicate attempts to split the skull open. Today they unveiled a facial reconstruction of what the girl may have looked like. Scientists were able to determine that 'Jane', was age 14, from England but they could not determine cause of death. On May 3rd the facial reconstruction will be on display at the museum. The skeletal remains will be on display at Historic Jamestowne near the discovery site on Jamestown Island. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: A partial tibia from the remains of 'Jane', a 17th teenager from Jamestown were on display at the Museum of Natural History press conference in Washington, DC on May 1, 2013. Forensic experts believe that after examining the tibia and an incomplete skull of the girl, that after her death, she was consumed by colonists there during a rough winter of 1609-1610 wherein 200 colonists died. The find of physical evidence by Jamestown Archeologists reveals startling survival tactics at the historic colony. Smithsonian anthropologists and archeologists believe that chop marks on her skull indicate attempts to split the skull open. Scientists were able to determine that 'Jane', was age 14, from England but they could not determine cause of death. On May 3rd the facial reconstruction will be on display at the museum. The skeletal remains will be on display at Historic Jamestowne near the discovery site on Jamestown Island. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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