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Archaeology at Kalkriese

The History of the Site’s Discovery

Only 30 years ago, no one would have expected that Kalkriese, a part of the municipality of Bramsche, was to become famous far beyond the borders of the county of Osnabrück. First discoveries made in the course of surveys of the terrain by amateur archaeologist Major Tony Clunn in 1987 led to an excavation by Stadt- und Kreisarchäologie Osnabrück (Municipal and County Archaeology Osnabrück) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schlüter. The excavation yielded a hoard of 163 Roman silver coins found close to the water castle Alt Barenaue. It was believed that these coins got lost in the year of the Varus Battle (9 AD), yet at the time no one suspected that this excavation, which was limited to a rather small section, would develop into a long-term archaeological research project. Likewise, the discovery of Roman militaria allowed us to catch merely a glimpse of its significant cultural-historical background. Only when the remains of a rampart were unearthed, besides other interesting finds, during further excavations in 1990, it became clear that we are dealing with the traces of a battle here. In the meantime, it has been proven that the finds and their analyses belong in the immediate context of the events of the year 9 AD. More and more indicators have been found, which led to the conclusion that here, on the rim of the Wiehen Hills, at least one major location of the Varus Battle, also known as the »Battle of the Teutoburg Forest,« has been discovered.

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