Child found buried with animals in aftermath of ancient battle in Silves
remains of a child buried for centuries under the historical town of Silves in Portugal have finally been revealed by archaeologists.
The find is unusual because the child appears to have been ‘dumped’ in a pit, along with the remains of several animals including a horse, a sheep or goat, a cat and a bird. The child’s skeleton was underneath the horse and other animals.
Archaeologists have dated the remains back to the 13th century Almóada period when Muslim rule over Silves was coming to an end and there was fierce fighting between Christians and the Moors who had been living in Silves.
Although the finds are still being investigated, researchers think that the weapons in the pit suggest that the child’s death was collateral damage of the violence during the reconquest of Silves and that no care was taken with burying the body. Smashed pottery and an arrow underneath the child’s head all suggest that the death occurred during a catastrophic scenario.
Archaeologists now suspect that the arrow was lodged in the child’s muscle but don’t know if this injury was fatal. They explained: “It became clear that the child was not buried. The child was face down and had one of their hands underneath their body. Thus somebody threw the child into the pit with all the other animals and objects we found.”