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Bronze Age Battlefield Excavated in Northern Germany

Monday, October 23, 2017

LOWER SAXONY, GERMANY—Live Science reports that archaeologists are investigating a 3,250-year-old battlefield site in northern Germany’s Tollense Valley. They have recovered remains of some 140 people, most of them men between the ages of 20 and 40, in addition to the bones of horses and military artifacts. Some of the bones had been pierced with arrows. “We are very confident that the human remains are more or less lying in the position where they died,” said archaeologist Thomas Terberger of the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage. He thinks as many as 2,000 may have been involved in the battle. Isotopic analysis of the bones suggests that some of the remains came from nonlocals, perhaps from southern Germany and central Europe. They may have brought the arrowheads and dress pins found on the battlefield, which resemble those found in Central Europe, and not those made in northern Germany. Terberger speculates the warriors may have been fighting for control of the Tollense River, an important north-south trade route, since the battle took place at a narrow part of the river, where there is evidence a wooden bridge may have stood in 1900 B.C. To read about excavation of a more recent battlefield in Germany, go to “Last Stand of the Blue Brigade.”

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