The Bronze Age Europe was a violent place. However, scientists have recently uncovered the scope of violence in a 3,000-year field where thousands of well-armed young men in northern Germany fought sophisticated weapons in an epic war. Now, a lot of bronze artifacts and vehicles in the middle of the battlefield at the bottom of the river show that some of these warriors traveled to fight hundreds of kilometers away. This shows that northern European societies are organized on such a large scale that leaders can call warriors to distant battlefields long before modern communication systems and roads.
“It is very rare to find such a box or pouch,” says Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist from the Lower Saxony Cultural Heritage Office in Hanover, Germany, on an ancient warfare site, was published in Antiquity today, with colleagues in a newspaper. “Someone lost there.”
The war took place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 160 kilometers north of Berlin, in the narrow marsh valley along the Tollense River. Most of the artifacts were submerged under water and preserved intact. Since the area was discovered in 1996, archaeologists have unearthed metal and wood weapons and over 12,000 human bones.
The new find, uncovered in 2016, includes cylindrical bronze pieces along with a bronze knife, awl and small chisel. The chaos of tools and scrap metals is similar to their personal effects rather than a ritual deposit or stacking. Archaeologists say the tools are probably in a rotten bag or box. However, the contents were held in place by the thick mud of the river bed until the divers found it approximately 3000 years later.
Dozens of similar scrap bronze collections, along with small tools to cut, have appeared in the tombs of stadium warriors far higher than the south, from the northern skirts of the Alps from Eastern France to the present day. Czech Republic. (It was the height of bronze metallurgical and military technology at the time.) However, this set of densely packed bronze objects is the first of its kind to be found so far north.
The new finding supports the hypothesis that warriors travel hundreds of kilometers from their homeland to the battlefield and largely illustrates the social organization. The works conform to previous evidence that some bones in the battlefield have a strontium content that does not match the isotopes found in people grown in the area.
“This shows that people are much more active than we thought,” says Aellehus University archaeologist Helle Vandkilde, who is not part of the research, says Denmark. “That would mean objects that accompany people on the move.”
Aqueous conditions under the surface also retained pieces of wood, which helped archaeologists to come up with finds, including the birch stalk. Within a few meters of bronze objects, divers found more wreckage from the war, such as arrowheads, clothes pins, a bronze blade with a bone handle, and a human rib and skull. All finds date back to 1300 BC and support the idea that it was part of a single event.
Bronze pieces and chisels to cut them also make for another thing: the dawn of the currency. “Metal objects are becoming money, not just tools,” says Terberger. “It is new that they have the opportunity to trade with each other.”