Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Battalion in the bog

For more than 50 years, scattered human bones have been found in the peat of the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark. Danish archaeologists from the Scanderborg Museum, the Moesgård Museum, and Aarhus University have just revealed that their joint excavation (photos above and here) has unearthed hundreds of skeletons. The remains - which include a fractured skull and a thigh bone that had been hacked in half - are those of warriors who had been defeated in battle and apparently sacrificed en masse some 2,000 years ago in what was then a lake. Also found were the axes, spears, clubs, and shields with which they had been unable to successfully defend themselves. "It's clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time," explains Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst. The bog is situated within the river valley of Illerup Ådal, also known as the "Holy Valley," the site of several well-known sacrificial locations. Holst, excavation director Ejvind Hertz, and an an international team of researchers will attempt to discover who these warriors were and where they came from by reconstructing the landscape and conducting detailed analyses of the remains to recreate the general outlines of the mysterious Iron Age events. Says Holst, "I guess we will end up with a scale that is much larger than the 200 that we have at present. We have only touched upon a very small part of what we expect to be there....We have not seen anything like this before in Denmark, but it is quite extraordinary even in a European perspective."

Thanks again, Cherei!
A recent post about bog bodies
with links to earlier posts:

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