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These monks 'RIP OFF' own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

These monks 'RIP OFF' own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

- Researchers have excavated 123 individuals from four cemeteries.

- Many of the skeletons had signs of defleshing

- The cut marks are thought to have been made during a ceremony

- The people buried lived around 1,000 years ago

These monks RIP OFF own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

Robert Stark who led the study said during a presentation of his findings that it was possible that the cut marks were made during a form of defleshing ceremony

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton have excavated 123 individuals from four cemeteries near the remains of a medieval Christian monastery in Sudan, near the River Nile and found that many of the skeletons had signs of 'defleshing'.

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Although the reason for this remains a mystery, marks on the skeletons' bones suggest that their flesh was removed shortly after death.

One of the cemeteries was found to consist solely of adult males, and was probably used by the monks from the monastery.

These monks RIP OFF own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

The people buried lived around 1,000 years ago

Other two cemeteries contained a wider mix of individuals, while the fourth contained only 15 burials – many with unusual features.

One burial contained a mix of bones with cut marks from two individuals, made shortly after their death.

Robert Stark who led the study said during a presentation of his findings that it was possible that the cut marks were made during a form of defleshing ceremony.

Artur Obluski, director of the excavations at al-Ghazali, said the writing on tombstones can be divided into two parts.

These monks RIP OFF own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

Marks on the skeletons' bones suggest that their flesh was removed shortly after death

The first part consisted of prayers, which included “a prayer for the soul of the deceased, a prayer to the Providence of God, the God himself often described as merciful.”

These prayers ask 'that the soul will be taken care of and can rest on the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacobor in the world of the Living.'

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The second part of the tombstone engravings contained some individual information of the deceased: his name, age at the time of death, sometimes titles he bore during his life time - so-called cursus honorum - and professions he performed.

These monks RIP OFF own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

The people buried in the cemeteries lived around 1,000 years ago, during a time when Christian kingdoms flourished in the area.

Various other people buried in the cemetery were found in strange positions, such as one person whose legs were at a 45-degree angle, with their arms across his or her head.

These monks RIP OFF own flesh before burial on in grisly ritual (photos)

Other notable findings were stone structures that were found in all four cemeteries, engraved with Greek writings.

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