Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


17.12.08
  Those New 'Romans at My Backdoor'

The series about the Kalefeld battlefield is under revision. An updated version representing the knowldege of autumn 2010 will appear soon.

Shiny things - Some of the finds
Copyright original photo: Der Spiegel Online

 
Comments:
Amazing finds, Gabriele! How lucky you are to live so close to the site! i hope someone make a TV doco about it sometime soon.
 
There was a bit in the TV news, but I suppose they'll wait for some more information to emerge before they invest in a TV documentary, if at all.
 
It's interesting the way the finds are so well preserved. That must be unusual? For wood to survive so well? You'd think the weapons would have been gathered up afterward by the victors. Obviously something else distracted them!
 
Ooo! Just looking at the pics, I can hear the Hans Zimmer music swelling.

Question: can you recommend a good English language book on Roman Germany?
 
Amazing finds! And so well-preserved, too. Nothing like a good archaeological find to shake up the historical record a bit. Though I'll be interested in hearing the theories about the lack of German material.

C'mon now, Scottish archaeologists, you really need to start finding the site of Mons Graupius already. ;)
 
Shelley, it is unusual. Now would it not be cool to find some tablets like in Vindolanda? That should help clearing the mess. ;)

Zornhau, alas I haven't come across more recent English publications on the Romans in Germany so far. There's one book about the Varus battle I plan to get, maybe that one will have further literature in the bibilography.

Kirsten, the problem with the Mons Graupius battlefield is that they seek for it (archaeologists can't seem to find Idistaviso, either), and this one popped up totally unexpected. :)
 
My first exposure to those battles was the British series "I Claudius". It always seemed so complicated....
 
I seem to remember (from somewhere long ago and far far away) that the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth legions were destroyed in the German forests, and that the victors left the bodies there where they fell, still in their armour and with weapons in hand. The idea (as I recall) would have been to freak out the next batch of Imperials to come down that road.
I wonder, from your posting here, if maybe that was not an isolated incident, that maybe that had been done here as well. That might well answer Shelley's very valid point.

Feel free to blow this theory out of the water...grin!
 
Amazing, especially being able to identify the wood in the arrow shafts as African. It will be most interesting to see what additional excavations find.

I rather like Stag's hypothesis :-) Although wouldn't there be bones to go with the weapons if that were the case?

Is it possible that neither side really won, in the sense that neither felt confident about collecting and transporting a large load of booty in case they were attacked again, and by the time the situation had settled down the exact location of the fight had been forgotten?
 
Stag, it was the 17th, 18th and 19th legions that were annihilated in the Varus battle, and the bodies were looted, there is archaeological proof for it now. Germanicus buried the remains six years later.

Carla, I'm going to address those points in another post. :)
 
Ah yes. and I HAD been corrected on that point by Antonius Pius already....XVII, XVIII and XIX. I have a memory like a steel trap....a LEAKY steel trap.

quote from wikipedia...."According to Tacitus, they found heaps of bleached bones and severed skulls nailed to trees, which they buried, "looking on all as kinsfolk and of their own blood".

Sounds like a lot of campaigning was going on all over. This one in Kalefeld would have been, what two hundred years or more after the Teutoburg forest debacle? Interesting. Wonder what changes in weapons and armour this represents!

And even more so, I wonder why they were campaigning across the Rhine at all....expansionist policies were not in favor at this time (or at least, not as much). Likely somebody tic'd somebody off.

I await new developments.


(stag, posting on Bill's account)
 
Well, the Germans did endeavour into Roman territory a few time and brought back some interesting portable goods. The Romans almost always mounted a punitive expedition, but if this was one, they wend deep into German territory indeed.

What shocked the Romans most when they returned to the Varus battlefield six years later was the fact that some of the prisoners had been sacrified and the bones still lay on the altars, according to Tacitus.
 
It would seem unusual to find Alemanni this far north: the Franks were to the west of this site and the Saxons to the north. The Goths would probably have been to the Southeast of it by this time and the Vandals to the east. It is difficult to ascertain with any degree of confidence as to precisely which tribe was dominant in this particular locale in the mid 230's A.D.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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