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In 2014, they found the partially burned bones of an older man, facedown on top of a hearth.That the body was burned down to the bones in places suggests he was dead when he fell—otherwise he would have moved.It wasn’t looted after the murders, and neighbors on the densely populated island didn’t interfere with the site, so archaeologists believe that the area was considered taboo for years after the attack.As the turf walls of its houses collapsed, Sandby Borg became a shallow grave, with bones concealed just inches below the surface.Their bodies were left where they lay, on the floors of their homes and even in smoldering fire pits.The houses were closed up and the place was abandoned.Archaeologists testing geophysical prospecting methods in the area noticed that treasure hunters had recently dug pits around the fort, perhaps looking for gold coins.Professional metal detectorists were mobilized to search for anything the looters had missed.
Researchers at that time had little idea of what they would actually find.
What remains of Sandby Borg’s walls now surround a flat expanse of grass, and aren’t even tall enough to break the strong winds.
But 1,500 years ago, Sandby Borg would have been impossible to miss.
Portable fences, the kind that go up around construction sites, form a protective ring-within-a-ring around the scene.
Yellow plastic stakes mark the spots where bodies, some with clear evidence of brutal blows to the head with an ax or other edged weapon, have already been found.
Her theory was that the women of the fort buried their valuables in predesignated spots.