The graves were discovered during the construction of a roadway near the Polish town of Gliwice, where archaeologists are more accustomed to finding the remains of World War II soldiers, according to The Telegraph.
But instead of soldiers, the graves contained skeletons whose heads had been severed and placed on their legs. This indicated to the archaeologists that the bodies had been subject to a ritualized execution designed to ensure the dead stayed dead, The Telegraph reports.
Decapitation was one way of achieving that; another way was hanging the person by a rope attached to the neck until, over time, the decaying body simply separated from the head.
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