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In 2005, a team of archaeologists unearthed a well-preserved group of 4,600-year-old graves in the agricultural region of Eulau, Germany. People were buried three and four to a grave, an unmistakable stamp of the Corded Ware Culture, the earliest farmers in the region. Yet the intimate arrangement of the burials—some people were facing each other and had arms interlinked—prompted a deeper investigation.

DNA testing revealed that their orientation in death reflected an important connection in life: two of the graves contained blood relatives. The bones also show fractures and other evidence of trauma, suggesting that the people met their deaths in a violent raid, then were carefully laid to rest by the survivors.