The Site of the Battle – Excavation Campaign 2012 in Kalkriese
In this year, research activities of Kalkriese- and Osnabrück-based archaeologists once more focus on a Germanic settlement area. About two kilometers West of the Oberesch – the central site of the battle where today’s museum park is located – excavations will continue until October 2012 in an area measuring about 1,000 square meters. The floor plan of a Germanic house has already been unearthed. Preliminary results indicate that it probably existed around the time of the Varus Battle. Several Roman copper coins were also discovered.
How was this area used around the year 9 AD? How densely was it populated by Germanic people? What did their traffic routes look like? What happened to the Varus Battle’s spoil of war? These are the pivotal questions that will be further examined in the course of the current excavation campaign. Based on a thorough investigation of the extensive landscape’s structure, the archaeological team hopes to obtain crucial knowledge about the Romans’ possible marching routes and the local population of 2,000 years ago. Besides the area’s infrastructure, the interpretation of Roman objects is of great interest to the scientists. They are trying to determine whether these objects are spoils of war that were brought to the settlement, or whether they hint at armed conflicts in the locations where they were found. The archaeologists’ research takes place under the name »Conflict Landscape«. Their excavations are funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). Scientific investigation in Kalkriese is a cooperative project between the University of Osnabrück and Varusschlacht im Osnabrücker Land.
Already in the last year, archaeologists unearthed a Germanic settlement area West of Venne. Due to the dating of the ceramic fragments found there, it has been verified that this settlement was in use during the decades around the year 1 AD, i.e., at about the time of the Varus Battle. Besides a multitude of earthenware shards, earthenware whorls and iron dross residue have been discovered, pointing at the processing of wool and metals. Of special scientific interest is the discovery of various basaltic lava millstone fragments. They probably belonged to Roman handmills. The question of how they ended up in this settlement – via trade or having been left behind by Roman troops – remains an exciting one. There is no doubt that it will continue to keep scientists in Kalkriese and Osnabrück busy for quite some time.
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