3rd century Roman battlefield found in north Germany

From AP

KALEFELD-OLDENRODE, Germany (AP) — Archaeologists say they have uncovered a third-century battlefield in northern Germany which could prove that Roman legions were fighting in the region much later than historians have long believed.

Rome’s most famous incursion into the north of modern Germany came in A.D. 9, when Roman soldiers were defeated by Germanic tribesman at the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest.

However, the newly uncovered battlefield near Kalefeld-Oldenrode, south of Hanover, is some 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the Teutoberg Forest and appears to date to between A.D. 180-260.

At a press conference Monday, archeologists said they used coins and weaponry excavated from an area 1 1/2 kilometers (one mile) long and 500 meters (1/3 of a mile) wide to date the battlefield.

Petra Loenne, an archaeologist for the state of Lower Saxony, said she and her colleagues have found 600 artifacts, including spears, arrowheads, catapult bolts and dishes at the site of a struggle that might have involved up to 1,000 Roman fighters.

Guenther Moosbauer, an expert at the University of Osnabrueck who studies Roman-German history, said he suspects the battle might have been started by a legion seeking revenge after tribesman in A.D. 235 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 said.


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