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Scientists Reevaluate Germany’s Bronze Age Battlefield

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

MECKLENBURG-WEST POMERANIA, GERMANY—According to a report in The Times, new genetic and chemical analyses of an estimated 145 sets of human remains unearthed in what had been thought to be a Bronze Age battlefield in northern Germany’s Tollense River Valley suggest that the dead were not members of a local army, but had come from many different regions. In addition, few of the individuals shared kinship ties. Wear and tear on the bones of the lower body also shows that some of the dead had been used to carrying heavy loads. “The picture that is emerging does not necessarily correspond to the picture of a warrior, but rather to the picture of people who spent their lives transporting things,” said Detlef Jantzen, chief archaeologist for the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The remains of women have also been found among the bones, in addition to gold rings, cylinders made of bronze, and glass beads from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Jantzen and his team think the site could be the remains of a large caravan of merchants who were attacked by raiders. “These are luxury goods we have found here and they have a very long journey behind them,” he explained. For more on analysis of remains from this battle, go to "World Roundup: Germany."

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