Téviec would be quite an unknown island somewhere in Brittany, France, if it wasn’t for have its huge archaeological value, thanks to the various finds excavated there, mostly from the Mesolithic period.
These findings include the skeletons of two women who were murdered violently between 6740 and 5680 BC.
Marthe and Saint-Just Péquart – after first discovering the tomb. 1928
Téviec, along with Pointe de la Torche, Hoëdic and Beg er Vil on the Quebe, is one of the very few Mesolithic sites of Brittany. In the last 35 years, it has been the subject of a biotope protection scheme.
Therefore, landing on the island has become a troublesome task for contemporary archaeologists.
However, that was not always the case. From 1928 to 1934 archaeologists Marthe and Saint-Just Péquart discovered excavated a culturally and archaeologically rich Mesolithic site on the island, dating from 5700 to 4500 BC.
According to most historians, this is considered the end of the Mesolithic period in western France and it overlaps with the beginning of the Neolithic period.
The most fascinating and mysterious of all discoveries, however, is undoubtedly the grave that includes the skeletons of two women aged 25–35, dubbed the “Ladies of Téviec.” Their bodies were buried delicately in a pit that was partly dug into the ground and coated over with debris from the midden.
The corpses had been protected all these centuries by a roof made of antlers and supplied with pieces of flint, boar bones, and jewellery made of seashells such as necklaces, bracelets, and ringlets for their legs. The grave collection was unearthed from the site as a whole and is now on display at the Muséum de Toulouse, where its restoration in 2010 earned several awards.
Exhibit A? Skull from the Téviec burial. This female died when she was 25 to 35 years old from a violent death with numerous skull fractures and bone lesions associated with the impact of an arrow.
The thing that shocked archaeologists the most though, was the blatant violence and brutality the two women sustained before they died. Scientists examining the skeletons concluded that one of them had suffered five blows to the head, two of which were possibly fatal, and had also received at least one arrow shot between the eyes.
The other body also had traces of injuries, but not as violent as the body of her “friend.” In recent years, however, this diagnosis is debated by some archaeologists, who claim that the immense weight of the soil above the grave may have been the cause of damage for the skeletons. An obvious question that probably occurs upon reading this is: How could the weight and composition of any soil – no matter how heavy it might be –ever justify an arrow shot between the eyes? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?