Experts were mystified when they discovered a mass grave beneath a quadrangle a St John’s College, St Giles, in 2008, reports the Oxford Mail.
But, after two years of CSI-style detective work, they believe they can pinpoint the exact day in 1002 AD that Danish settlers were rounded up on the streets of Oxford and murdered, before being carted out of the city gates and dumped in a ditch.
Thames Valley Archaeological Services (TVAS) uncovered the remains of 34 to 38 young men in March 2008, during excavations for a new college building.
Bone experts realised they had been murdered as their skeletons were left with cracked skulls, stab wounds in their spines and pelvic bones, and there were signs of burning.
Tests dated them to between 960 and 1020 AD, and archaeologists first thought they were the remains of executed Saxon criminals.
But when the chemical composition of the bones was analysed, they revealed the men ate far more fish and shellfish than Anglo-Saxons, suggesting they were Viking settlers from Denmark.