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The Terrain under Survey

30 Square Kilometers to be Researched 

Besides the excavations at the Oberesch site, surveys of terrain continue. They serve to determine the size of the terrain under survey, since we are not dealing with a small-scale battlefield, but with a large-scale »battle area« encompassing more than 30 square kilometers which is roughly located between the rivers Hase and Hunte and between Kalkrieser Berg and Großes Moor (Big Moor).

The Terrain under Survey, 2. Absatz

However, the discovery of many more sites and the finds from supplementary excavations in selected locations indicate that until today the Oberesch has remained the richest and most meaningful site of the entire Kalkriese terrain. It is possible that the Oberesch is one of the – or even the – main site in the context of extensive battle action. This hypothesis is supported not only by the large number of finds, but also by the location of the Oberesch itself, which forms the center of a geographic bottleneck between the hill and the moor. It also became clear that the Roman troops, who tried to march westward from the East, were attacked before they reached the Oberesch. While we do not find any traces of battle action in these places, such as the rampart on the Oberesch, which was used for an ambush there, we must assume that the edges of forests and bush abatises, which are no longer traceable, served to create an ambush. Quite clearly, the flank of the army was attacked as the troops were marching past their adversaries. Their only option was to attempt an escape to the West.

Other sites that point at military action have been discovered west and northwest of the Oberesch. They also contain fewer artifacts than the Oberesch site. Latest research has shown that the number of Roman artifacts found does not necessarily correspond with the intensity of the fights. To answer such questions, the processes influencing preservation of the artifacts after the battle must be analyzed. In this context, Kalkriese has the opportunity to be at the forefront of research with its new approach to battlefield archaeology. The current state of the finds’ evaluation allows us to conclude that battle action unfolded as follows: Severe fights took place in the East, while the logistics of the Roman army were still almost intact, followed by extremely violent action on the Oberesch, which led to escape attempts and subsequent local battle action in the West and Northwest.