Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

80 Shackled Skeletons Found in Greek Grave After Ancient Mass Execution

Something major happened here.

Centuries ago, in ancient Greece, at least 80 people—all of whom likely ranked higher than a commoner or slave—were executed. 

Why they were executed, when they were executed and who they were remains a mystery, but, recently, archaeologists discovered their carefully buried remains in a massive ancient necropolis in Athens, according to Reuters. Each had their hands shackled in iron, the apparent victims of a mass execution. 

And while the exact nature of that execution is murky, a leading theory suggests that the victims might have been behind a failed seventh century coup led by Cylon, a nobleman. Cylon managed to escape, but many of his supporters did not and were killed. 

Archaeologists are performing DNA tests on the skeletons in the hopes of finding out more. 

“They are all tied at the hands with handcuffs and most of them are very, very young and in a very good state of health when they were executed,” Stella Chryssoulaki, who is leading the excavations, told Reuters.

Ancient Greece, in other words, could be a rough place.