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The Tomb of Téviec: A 6,500-Year-Old Murder Mystery

Between 1928 and 1934, French archaeologists excavated a Mesolithic (hunter-gatherer) site on the island of Téviec, located off the west coast of France. The site was thousands of years old, from 5700 and 4500 BCE.

One of the most intriguing discoveries told a tale of violence and murder.

The Ladies of Téviec is the most famous burial on the island. The bodies inside the tomb are of two women, between the ages of 30 and 35. They were buried beneath a roof of deer antlers and adorned with jewelry and seashells.

When the skeletons were examined, their skulls revealed fractures that resulted from blunt force trauma. One of the victims appears to have been hit five times in the head. There’s also a gouge above one of their eye socket’s, which archaeologists believe was most likely caused by an arrow.

“It is unusual to find women killed this way during this period,” says Dr. Francis Duranthon, the director of the Toulouse Natural History Museum. “What we know is that at least two people were involved in these killings.”

One theory for the brutal murders is that when sea levels rose and people were driven from their homelands, there was ruthless competition for resources. Another theory is that these women may have been sacrificed, ritual murders to appease the gods.

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