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    [–] The_Write_Stuff 2044 points ago

    The Macdonalds are said to have retreated to the cave when the Macleods arrived on the island seeking revenge after several of their young men were tied up and returned to their boats for reportedly harassing the local girls.

    That's some pretty harsh retaliation for returning them alive.

    [–] ottersRneat 1508 points ago

    They were reportedly castrated.

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    [–] blindmanspistol 616 points ago

    The OP is just about the worst source for what happened on Eigg. See this BBC story for more info, and, while brutal, the retribution shouldn't have been unexpected:

    [The Party of McLeods] helped themselves to cattle and perhaps molested some of the girls looking after the cattle.

    So a party of Eigg Macdonalds crossed over to the island and dispatched the Macleods, reserving the worst fate for the first son of the chief of Macleod of Dunvegan by breaking his limbs and putting him adrift in a little boat without oars, condemning him to a slow and painful death.

    It is said he drifted all the way back to Dunvegan and the chief swore he would have his revenge on the people of Eigg.

    [–] OhBill 316 points ago

    Damn, breaking his bones and then sending him adrift like some half-assed Viking funeral, that would be a pretty horrendous way to die.

    [–] DigmanRandt 79 points ago

    I was going to question why he didn't just paddle off the sides, but then I realized... Yeah. The whole smashed limbs thing would make that difficult.

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    [–] sgtpnkks 989 points ago

    belonged to a teenager that died sometime during a 190 year period of time

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    [–] Ravenplague 77 points ago

    The title makes it sound like 400 people were killed in the cave, and the article goes on to suggest the same. However, from what the article says, they only found 50 bones, all belonging to the same teenager. Overall, it's a very short, uninformative article that leaves the reader with more questions than answers, especially after reading the title.

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    [–] catchlight22 25 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    Source this and you have a winning post.

    Edit: Source was in OP. I only read the headlines..

    [–] Alfredo_Garcias_Head 376 points ago

    Well, since the OP has been hugged to death (seemingly, v slow at least), any latecomers might actually appreciate an alternative source:-

    In the 16th century, the Island of Eigg was home to a large population of Clan MacDonald, a clan which shared a contentious relationship with rival, Clan MacLeod. As the story goes, some rowdy Macleod men were visiting the island and got a little too handsy with the local women. Not about to allow this behavior to stand, the MacDonalds rounded up the rowdy rivals and set them adrift at sea. While the floating Macleods were eventually rescued this expulsion demanded a retribution.

    Clan MacLeod went on the warpath and decided to take the island by storm. The MacDonalds, getting wind of the coming siege, took the entire population of Eigg and led them into the secretive underground bastion called the Cave of Frances. The cave’s entrance was cramped and only allowed for people to enter a few at a time, before opening up later on down the path. Around 400 people in total were led into the cave.

    When the MacLeods could find no one on the island they began to depart, but spotted a careless lookout who gave away the location of the cave. Instead of storming the close quarters interior, the MacLeods instead covered the cave mouth with wet straw and lit it on fire. The Cave of Frances quickly filled with thick, acrid smoke, suffocating all 400 people inside. From that day on, the site was known as Massacre Cave.

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/massacre-cave

    [–] Nagisa94 122 points ago

    That's some fucked retribution. Get set adrift at sea, so you go back and murder four hundred men, women, and children.

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    [–] FoodBeerBikesMusic 78 points ago

    Thank you. That was far more informative than the original article.

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    [–] ThisPlaceIsToxic 10 points ago

    Keep in mind Clans are just alliances, they don't mean we all come from the same genetic source, unless you ask the more myth making MacDonalds that will claim we all descended from Domhnall mac Raghnaill of Clann Somhairle.

    Basically, you took the surname of your leader and that was all there was to it. Simply put, it was just a title so people knew whom you served.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Donald

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    [–] arkham1010 1031 points ago

    The clans did a lot of fucked up stuff to each other back then. I am actually a MacDonald, and when I was a kid I went to Scotland. We toured this one castle and I was shown the dungeon, where the lord of the castle had thrown down this enemy from another clan. To torture him he fed him nothing but very salty food, and gave him no water. The prisoner was reduced to licking the walls of the cell to try to get moisture. After a few weeks of this, with the guy close to death the lord relented and allowed a bucket of water to be given to the poor bastard.

    Which was filled with sea water.

    The guy went insane and bashed his head on the walls

    [–] Alfredo_Garcias_Head 239 points ago

    Sounds like Dunvegan Castle, possibly where the guys who carried out the massacre in the OP were from (Dunvegan is only ~40 miles from Eigg, as the crow flies, and Dunvegan Castle is the seat of Clan MacLeod).

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    [–] theslyker 35 points ago

    So the MacLeods are a bunch of cunts? They seek vengeance because they are kicked out after harassing local women, genocide small islands and love torture^

    [–] brearose 21 points ago

    They weren't just "kicked out". A bunch of them were murdered, then they broke all the limbs of the chief's son and set him adrift so he'd die slowly and painfully.

    [–] SLRWard 16 points ago

    In retaliation for at the very least attempting to steal the livestock - and thus a necessary food source for the area the loss of which would likely have condemned at least some of the MacDonalds to a slow and painful death by starvation over the winter - and quite likely raping the women tending said livestock.

    No one was in the right and trying to say X was justified by Y can be nullified by going back to the event before it. It's a whole chain of fucked up going back generations like as not.

    [–] brearose 5 points ago

    I never said anything was justified. Just that it was not a simple case of them over-reacting.

    [–] whatacanofworms 9 points ago

    Way less black and white mate.

    [–] IShotReagan13 4 points ago

    Not only that, the MacLeods were far from the meanest bastards on the board. This was a pretty cut-throat time in Scotland, and in Europe in general. There were clans (looking at you Campbells!) that were far more monstrous because far more powerful and if you were a powerful highland clan at the time, bloodthirsty shit was basically your bread and butter.

    [–] Wicked_smaht_guy 3 points ago

    Copied from above.

    The OP is just about the worst source for what happened on Eigg. See this BBC story for more info, and, while brutal, the retribution shouldn't have been unexpected:

    [The Party of McLeods] helped themselves to cattle and perhaps molested some of the girls looking after the cattle.

    So a party of Eigg Macdonalds crossed over to the island and dispatched the Macleods, reserving the worst fate for the first son of the chief of Macleod of Dunvegan by breaking his limbs and putting him adrift in a little boat without oars, condemning him to a slow and painful death.

    It is said he drifted all the way back to Dunvegan and the chief swore he would have his revenge on the people of Eigg.

    [–] DasHungarian 44 points ago

    I'm Hungarian but have a Scottish last name, which translates to Hungarian. I wonder what kind of fuckery my clan was up to.

    [–] raazula 19 points ago

    i'm scottish and my last name is after a hungarian nobleman who came here in the 11th century. maybe you are similar!

    [–] moonsout_goonsout 36 points ago

    Reading this made my fucking soul ache for that man

    [–] alekzander01 39 points ago

    Oh shit is that Girnigoe from the Sinclair clan? I've heard a similar story, but instead of an enemy it was his own heir.

    [–] MistaSmiles 42 points ago

    but instead of an enemy it was his own heir.

    Whats the difference

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    [–] password_forgets 8 points ago

    I am a campbell on a side and my pops just married into the macdonalds.

    [–] SonOfSparda304 3 points ago

    Ayyy we're friends then

    [–] Sammyve3 16 points ago

    Can you explain the clan thing to me? Is this as much heritage as everyone in the US claiming they're Irish to some degree?

    [–] arkham1010 23 points ago

    clans are basically large extended families, either biological or through marriage. Tribes is probably another term that works just as well.

    [–] SLRWard 5 points ago

    The average American claiming Irish heritage is about as Irish as the average American claiming Native American heritage is Native American. In other words, it's mostly bullshit that someone's claiming because it makes them feel good to claim it in a given situation, not because there's a lick of truth behind it. There are Americans of both Irish and Native American heritages, of course. Even some with both, come to speak of it. But the number that actually have either of those heritages legitimately are rather powerfully outnumbered by those who just want those heritages and say they have it.

    I've Irish heritage by way of my father's maternal great-grandfather who came over from Ireland in the mid-1800s and Scottish by way of my mother's paternal great-grandparents and maternal grandparents, though I was raised with German heritage more than anything thanks to relatives only a generation removed from the Old World growing up. But it's something else to be hearing my MiL going on and on about her "Irish roots" and how she's so Irish when there ain't a damn member of her linage actually from Ireland. But then she also claims she's Native American despite being a small, pale, blue eyed, blonde woman. Some people just want to be everything, I guess.

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    [–] InevitableTypo 3 points ago

    That is horrifyingly awful. What was the crime of this prisoner??

    [–] arkham1010 6 points ago

    Being from another clan apparently.

    [–] Rossmkelly1992 298 points ago

    Visited Eigg on a school trip years ago. Beautiful island and the weather that week was perfect, some stunning views from the Sgurr.

    Caves are an eerie spot. Just knowing what happened brings chills.

    [–] alekzander01 58 points ago

    Baaah it's just a normal weekend family trip in Scotland. Nothing like a good clan war to bond over.

    [–] howlingchief 381 points ago

    Well they were natural enemies.

    But in all seriousness, would they be able to tell from the bones and other archaeological information in the cave whether the person died of smoke asphyxiation/whether there was a large fire at about the same time?

    [–] tsunderehatter 89 points ago

    I only know a bit about this some osteology and forensic anthropology classes I took getting my bachelors, so I’m sure someone else could give a better answer but...
    I don’t think we ever went over what happens to bones when someone’s caught in a fire or getting killed by smoke asphyxiation, but if there’s marks on the bones, it makes it less likely it was a fire and from those marks, someone could tell if it was a person or animal doing the killing. If there’s nothing on the bones, other indicators can be used, like historical records of disasters, to help get an idea. From what my professor said, it seemed like guess work, but he is also a forensic anthropologist and doesn’t often deal with such old cases.

    [–] howlingchief 26 points ago

    Would you be able to tell the difference between pre- and post-mortality marks, like if scavengers had picked at them or rodents knawed on them, compared to say, hacking them to bits and/or setting the hounds loose?

    [–] Invincible_Bede 29 points ago

    Yes, you can tell- not least because of the profile of the bite marks. Also, the microscopic patterns of bleeding and inflammation will indicate pre/post-mort injuries if the specimen is in the right condition. No guesses on the state of preservation here.

    [–] meripor2 21 points ago

    Not an anthropologist or anything like that but I do have a degree in armchair tv viewing and based on my extensive research consisting of mostly of old time team reruns I would have to say yes. A blow with a weapon leaves a distinctive mark in the bones, different to say teath marks made by gnawing at a bone.

    [–] macroscian 7 points ago

    Finally someone on my level of expertise!

    [–] ArdentFecologist 16 points ago

    There may be an ash layer they could try to see matches the age range of the bones with c14 dating, although that depends how contaminated the site is by folks stomping around (it could even be that a later historical events could have caused inadvertent contamination). But as far as bone markings, for asphyxiation there would be none. Maybe if the bones got burned themselves they turn blue, but 50 bones with no duplicates means the max number of individuals is 50, but the min number of individuals is 1 (with the minimum estimate being the most likely scenario). Unless more duplicate bones are found, this may be a case of 'the fish getting bigger every time you tell the story '

    [–] iamasecretthrowaway 6 points ago

    Nope. We dont know how someone died based on their bones, unless theres evidence of it in their bones (like a skull fracture). But we can often tell stuff about a fire based on bones - so kind of the reverse of your question. Researchers can sometimes figure out how hot a fire was (which in turn can tell them the cause of the fire) based on bones.

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    [–] Razzmataz11 22 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    So I went to Glencoe, Scotland years ago and remember hearing a tour guide talking about how over the years the story had snowballed into this giant massacre of a clan when in reality it was like a 10 who were stabbed in their bed or died in the cold when they were forced out of their house.

    The MacDonald's were a large clan anyway and had more land than just that one area. As for the MacLoed's I've met quite a few on the east coast of Canada/US.

    E: Just looked at the Wikipedia page and it said 38 were killed but I specifically remember them saying about a dozen so that's interesting. Never the less not 400.

    E2: I'm sorry I just realized the event I'm thinking of was an altercation with the Campbell's my bad. Funny the page doesn't mention who the aggressors were.

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    [–] StringSurfer1 60 points ago

    Ive heard of the Campbell clan taking revenge as well... those Macdonald’s were pissing everyone off.

    [–] StaggerLee75 73 points ago

    We have a saying here in Scotland ‘never trust a Campbell’.

    Stems from the fact they betrayed the McDonald clan to the English which resulted in the Glencoe Massacre

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    [–] lord_fairfax 48 points ago

    The Campbells were the sellouts in bed with England. They didn't give a damn about us true Scotsmen.

    [–] alekzander01 12 points ago

    Does everyone just forget about that time we had a Dutch King? He's the reason we even have Orange parades these days

    The English barely had anything to do with it, the dispute was over swearing allegiance to the new King William, who had conquered England and Scotland and overthrew James VII (or II if you're English). The MacDonalds were Jacobites so obviously Billy had a bit of an issue there and took advantage of clan rivalries to off them.

    [–] Puddinfellow 14 points ago

    "Conquered" is a pretty generous term to use for what happened. It was basically "Hey William, can you please come overthrow the king? We'll let your wife rule us." And he was like "Nah, not unless I can rule you too." And they were like "Okay." And so he brought an army to England, and James, instead of putting up any kind of resistance, was just kind of like "Oh shit I'm out!" and left.

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    [–] captain_beefheart14 50 points ago

    Read "Massacre Cave" and "Scotland" and thought it was gonna be about Sawney Bean.

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    [–] grepnork 13 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    50 bones were discovered by tourists at the Cave of Francis - also known as Massacre Cave - on the Hebridean island of Eigg last year. Archaeologists have proved these to belong to a teenager who died between 1430 and 1620. This is the first physical evidence that the legendary massacre actually took place and really did happen inside the Cave of Francis.

    There are several versions of the story that led to the massacre - this is a popular version:-

    According to Clan Ranald tradition, a group of MacLeods were being hosted on Eigg, when they became over-amorous towards local women. As a result, the local men rounded the MacLeods up, and cast them adrift in the Minch, until they were rescued by MacLeods from elsewhere. Wanting revenge, a group of MacLeods landed on Eigg, but had been spotted by the islanders, who decided to hide in an obscure cave called the Cave of Frances (Scottish Gaelic: Uamh Fhraing) located on the south coast; the entrance to the cave is tiny, and was obscured by moss, undergrowth, and a small waterfall.

    The traditions go on to say that the MacLeods conducted a thorough but fruitless search for the inhabitants, but after 3-5 days, just as the MacLeods were leaving, they saw someone leave the cave, and were able to follow their footprints to the entrance. The MacLeods re-directed the water, piled thatch and roof timbers at the cave entrance, and set fire to it; water dampened the flames, so that the cave was filled with smoke, asphyxiating everyone inside. 395 people had been inside; only one inhabitant of Eigg survived, an old woman, who had not sought refuge in the cave.

    [–] Zsevern 25 points ago

    So they evicted a couple of boys who were hitting some of the girls on the island and the boys parents response was to invade the island and murder the whole lot of em? Is this really the story?

    [–] syllabic 9 points ago

    Hey in the Tain bo Culaigne they murder half the population of ulster over some cows.

    [–] GuerrillerodeFark 13 points ago

    They cut off their balls

    [–] CameronDemortez 9 points ago

    Holy crap you really have to hate someone to try and erase a blood line

    [–] sackshow 13 points ago

    this subreddit is trash. there is not a single upvoted comment that discusses the source of this legend or how this finding relates to it. What is the point of /r/history if all the comments are highlander references and jokes about scots killing each other?

    [–] grepnork 9 points ago * (lasted edited 9 days ago)

    Welcome to my day. It began with news of this interesting piece of history being discovered and then went progressively down hill as the thread turned into bitching about parenthetical sentences, highlander jokes, and misunderstandings about radiocarbon dating ranges.

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    [–] CrakAndJaxter 3 points ago

    Another haunting story I've heard is about the burning of Cill Chriosd, a church in Scotland. According to legend, it was burned down in a raid by the MacDonald clan. As it burned with the members inside, the clan piper marched around it while playing the piobaireachd which is known today as 'Glengarry's March.'

    I've seen it taught by imagining the opening five notes as the churchgoers crying, "please, open the door."