FILE name: Scientists are finding full skeletons that lay buried in the little-known ‘Murder Island’ nearly 400 years after Australia’s first and largest mass murder
Under the sand of this picturesque island chain, is a brutal and bloody past that is still being excavated.
Scientists are still discovering complete skeletons that lay buried in the little-known “Murder Island” almost 400 years after Australia’s first and largest mass murder, 60 Minutes reports.
The mutiny and massacre that took place on the Dutch ship the Batavia in 1629 is Australia’s bloodiest shipwreck.
After making her way to the south, the Batavia struck a reef 25 miles off the coast of Westernstern Australia in the vicinity of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, a chain of 122 islands in the Indian Ocean.
About 40 people drowned in an attempt to land. But those who survived the trek to the nearby Beacon Island — later named Batavia’s Graveyard — were in for worse.
They waited to be rescued, 125 men, women and children were massacred by mutineers of more than three months. Some women were kept alive to be repeatedly raped and tortured. The incident is compared with a real-life “Lord of the Flies”.
Reporter Liam Bartlett back to the murder scene with archaeologists from Australia and the Netherlands who are trying to find out how the victims lived and died.
“I find it interesting that the tombs here were all facing the other direction. Clearly We are in a cemetery, but they are all buried in different ways,” Dr. Al Patterson told Bartlett.
“Perfectly,” Lord of the Flies’ things.”
Dutch maritime archaeologist Wendy van Duivenvoorde said her work was about honoring the victims.
“Give them a little back from being left behind in this place at the end of the earth,” she said.
Physical anthropologist, or “bot detector,” Dr. Then Franklin said the alkaline soil favors bone conservation.
“The one thing of this skeleton is a male individual. The bones are very robust. There is a lot of the markers that indicate that there is a very strong muscles,” he said of a skeleton.
The mutineers responsible for the mass murder were eventually discovered and hanged on the gallows.
It is unknown how many victims are buried in the sand. The excavation continues.
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