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Archaeologists discover 80 shackled skeletons from mysterious ancient Greek execution

At least 80 skeletons have been discovered in shackles in an ancient Greek cemetery, the result of a mass execution dating back to around 632 BC. The bodies appear to have all belonged to young people who were in a good state of health when they were killed, leading to some mystery as to who the people were. "They have been executed, all in the same manner. But they have been buried with respect," said Dr. Stella Chryssoulaki, the head of excavations.

The deaths were likely violent, as most of the bodies have their arms bound above their heads, their jaws hanging open. But the bodies were not thrown into a grave without consideration, as might have been done with slaves or common criminals, Reuters reports. Instead, some believe that the skeletons belong to supporters of Athenian noble Cylon, who attempted a coup with his father-in-law, Megara. While Cylon escaped after the failed coup, many of his followers were killed.

DNA testing might offer more definitive clues into how and why the people were killed. The neighborhood cemetery where the skeletons were discovered is the resting place of some 1,500 bodies, including infants.