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Kurt Bachmann and his son Uwe had barely begun to dig when they hit something hard. Then the two dug a little more, and were astounded at what they saw.
Bones lay just under the turf, exactly where they were planning to lay the foundation for their new summer cabin in Hessisch Lichtenau, a town in central Germany. It lay stretched out, arms crossed tidily over the torso.
The post the skull hung on had rotted away and left stains in the ground, so-called "post holes." Of course, convicts might also have suffered by way of the notorious "wheel." This punishment was reserved for the worst of all crimes, murder or treason.
Using the wheel involved pegging the convict down on the ground with his or her extremities spread wide.
Crushed, Smashed, Wrecked Execution sites mostly lie along major roads.
If a stranger wanted to near a dominion, he first had to pass the gallows -- a clear warning to behave themselves.
The executioner had used the nail to fix her severed head onto a post.
It looked similar to the famous skull found in 1878 in Hamburg, often attributed to the pirate Klaus Störtebeker or his crony Gödeke Michels.
There was also a punishment involving the wheel "from below." The executioner delivered blow after blow to each of the extremities.The ribs are shattered, lower legs and forearms broken, the skull's left temple shattered.The Dreaded Wheel Those lucky enough to have a merciful judge might hope for a wheel "from above." That way the first blows would hit the head or neck.After executions, corpses would hang on gallows until decay and gravity pulled individual body parts to the ground -- the suspension arrangement had to offer room for a number of bodies.The execution sites were a very visible symbol for how severely towns would punish criminals.
Aside from mauled remains of skeletons and bits of posts, the archaeologists find a lot of animal bones at execution sites.