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Man holds old pitcher
Germany still holds surprises for archaeologistsImage: dpa Zentralbild

Surprise Find

DPA news agency (th)
December 16, 2008

A third-century battlefield unearthed in northern Germany seems to point to Roman legions fighting in the region far longer than most historians have ever thought.


Roman soldiers were famously defeated by Germanic tribesmen at the Battle of Teutoberg Forest in 9 A.D. However, a newly discovered battlefield near Kalefeld-Oldenrode is even farther north than the Teutoberg Forest and appears to date from between 180 and 260 A.D., according to a report by the Associated Press news agency.

Archaeologists held a press conference on Monday, Dec. 15, to announce that they had used coins and weapons excavated from the area to date the battlefield.

Digging for the truth

Men in Roman costumes
Roman times don't seem so far in the past for someImage: André Sarin

Archaeologist Petra Loenne said more than 600 artifacts, including spears, arrowheads, catapult bolts and dishes had been collected. It's estimated that the battle fought there could have involved up to 1,000 Roman fighters.

According to a theory put forward by Guenther Moosbauer, an expert at the University of Osnabrueck who studies Roman-German history, a Roman legion could have been seeking revenge after tribesman in 235 A.D. pushed Roman troops south of the Limes Germanicus, a ring of forts that separated the empire from unconquered land to the north and east.

"We will need to take a new look at the sources," Moosbauer told AP.

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