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The Military Earth Science Technology

Slaughter At The Bridge: Uncovering A Colossal Bronze Age Battle (sciencemag.org) 135

schwit1 quotes a report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science via Sciencemag.org: About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can't be found in any history books -- the written word didn't become common in these parts for another 2000 years -- but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology. "If our hypothesis is correct that all of the finds belong to the same event, we're dealing with a conflict of a scale hitherto completely unknown north of the Alps," says dig co-director Thomas Terberger, an archaeologist at the Lower Saxony State Service for Cultural Heritage in Hannover. "There's nothing to compare it to." It may even be the earliest direct evidence -- with weapons and warriors together -- of a battle this size anywhere in the ancient world.
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Slaughter At The Bridge: Uncovering A Colossal Bronze Age Battle

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  • by YetAnotherGeekGuy ( 715152 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:37AM (#51791067)
    Iman Wilkens makes a case for the Trojan War not occuring in the Mediteranean and tries to map it to England. http://www.troy-in-england.com... [troy-in-england.com] Perhaps this is another candidate location for the war.
    • by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:59AM (#51791131) Homepage

      and you believed it? The location is known and has been excavated.

      btw, The Flood was in Gloucestershire, and Noah was a boat builder on the Severn. That is why the English are God's chosen people. You read it here first 'cos I just made it up.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:03AM (#51791411) Journal

        Blasphemy! Clearly the mountains of Ararat are in Snowdonia and the ark grounded on Mount Snowdon, thus confirming the sanctity of the Welsh forefathers.

        • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

          Blasphemy! Clearly the mountains of Ararat are in Snowdonia

          I always thought that Ararat was a small town west of Melbourne.

          • I use it to thicken sauces.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I have been there - I was over in Cann River. The best part about the trip was that we'd taken the scenic route, via the Alpine Way or Great Alpine Way, and I got to joke about the name. Those really aren't very impressive mountains - height or size-wise. I was sorely disappointed by the Great Alpine Way. I seem to recall that some of them did, at times, have ice on 'em but I didn't see any ice.

            But, I didn't die or anything. I always consider that a bonus when I go to Oz.

      • and you believed it? The location is known and has been excavated.

        btw, The Flood was in Gloucestershire, and Noah was a boat builder on the Severn. That is why the English are God's chosen people. You read it here first 'cos I just made it up.

        As it happens, Comyns Beaumont wrote a series of books attempting to prove this in the 1940s. I think it was 'Britain: Key to world history'. I was tempted to buy a copy for shits and giggles, but the price on ebay is staggering.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I believed I have some of his works - they remain unread and part of what I picked up at a (now gone) buddy's estate sale. At one point, I went to create an index of all my books. I'm way too lazy for that. (I've about two dozen good sized bookshelves that are all full and about a half-dozen more that aren't quite full and then the room is lined with more shelves of varied fullness.) (Oh, and that's not even all of them - I have boxes of 'em still unpacked since moving here back in late 2008, I was in for C

      • Many Englishmen seriously have a history of thinking that all world history points squarely to them. I remember coming across a goofy occult religious website once that claimed that the English were the "lost tribes" of Israel (i.e. the northerners who were deported by Assyria in the Exile but never returned) and that because of that they were destined to inherit the kingship of the world.
        • Many Englishmen seriously have a history of thinking that all world history points squarely to them.

          Yup. Just them, the bastards, with their "manifest destiny" and "master race" concepts.

          Stupid fat cunt.

      • and you believed it? The location is known and has been excavated.

        Slightly more to the point, the Hellenistic and Roman civilisations of the area some 2000 years closer to the "Trojan War" events knew where the sites were and knew that their locations had never been lost.

        Schliemann brought access to the land from local a researcher (a British diplomat, IIRC) who had done the Classical Studies leg-work and relocated the site.

    • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @06:31AM (#51791211)

      Iman Wilkens makes a case for the Trojan War not occuring in the Mediteranean and tries to map it to England. http://www.troy-in-england.com... [troy-in-england.com] Perhaps this is another candidate location for the war.

      I rather doubt it. If this really is the remains of a major battle it could have been fought for a number of reasons. Firstly, in view of the diverse origins of the fallen, it could have been part of some major trans-European migration like the one that brought down the Roman empire. Secondly it could have been a large scale raid like the armies that raided Britain and France during the peak of the Viking age. This hypothesis can also be supported by the DNA results pertaining to the ethnic diversity of the dead. These Viking raids were conducted by armies that consisted of everything from small war-bands led by independent chieftains to large-ish armies led by petty kings that had organized themselves into a properly big army that was led by whoever contributed the largest force or who had the most battle experience and prestige. Thirdly, and this is the most interesting option, this battle was perhaps actually a part of an organized attempt to go beyond the 'seizing cattle, looting farmsteads and abducting women' type of raiding warfare thought to be the norm in Europe at the time. In this case whoever organized the army perhaps lured 'mercenaries' into his service with promises of plunder, cattle, slaves and even land grants of conquered territory much like William the Bastard did in the run-up to is 1066 invasion of England to bolster his army. In this case this battle may represent a well thought out and planned attempt by somebody to conquer land and thereby control the north-south/east trade route through which flowed all the amber, furs, slaves, and whatever other northern goods were consumed by the great Mediterranean cultures at the time. In any case we will have to seriously re-assess the level of social organization and industrial ability of European bronze age cultures. This is a pretty interesting and potentially very significant discovery that puts another dent into the 'ex oriente lux' [encyclopedia.com] cliché (which, to be fair, has been steadily dismantled over the last few decades). This is not to say that Oriental influence on European culture was non-existent or insignificant but Northern Europeans of the bronze age were nor a bunch of disorganized, louse ridden, loincloth wearing barbarians who only washed when they were caught out in the rain or fell into a river and who needed to import oriental ideas before they could organize themselves into sophisticated cultures because they were to dull to devise such concepts by themselves.

      • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:27AM (#51791507)

        Iman Wilkens makes a case for the Trojan War not occuring in the Mediteranean and tries to map it to England. http://www.troy-in-england.com... [troy-in-england.com] Perhaps this is another candidate location for the war.

        I rather doubt it. If this really is the remains of a major battle it could have been fought for a number of reasons. Firstly, in view of the diverse origins of the fallen, it could have been part of some major trans-European migration like the one that brought down the Roman empire. Secondly it could have been a large scale raid like the armies that raided Britain and France during the peak of the Viking age. This hypothesis can also be supported by the DNA results pertaining to the ethnic diversity of the dead. These Viking raids were conducted by armies that consisted of everything from small war-bands led by independent chieftains to large-ish armies led by petty kings that had organized themselves into a properly big army that was led by whoever contributed the largest force or who had the most battle experience and prestige. Thirdly, and this is the most interesting option, this battle was perhaps actually a part of an organized attempt to go beyond the 'seizing cattle, looting farmsteads and abducting women' type of raiding warfare thought to be the norm in Europe at the time. In this case whoever organized the army perhaps lured 'mercenaries' into his service with promises of plunder, cattle, slaves and even land grants of conquered territory much like William the Bastard did in the run-up to is 1066 invasion of England to bolster his army. In this case this battle may represent a well thought out and planned attempt by somebody to conquer land and thereby control the north-south/east trade route through which flowed all the amber, furs, slaves, and whatever other northern goods were consumed by the great Mediterranean cultures at the time. In any case we will have to seriously re-assess the level of social organization and industrial ability of European bronze age cultures. This is a pretty interesting and potentially very significant discovery that puts another dent into the 'ex oriente lux' [encyclopedia.com] cliché (which, to be fair, has been steadily dismantled over the last few decades). This is not to say that Oriental influence on European culture was non-existent or insignificant but Northern Europeans of the bronze age were nor a bunch of disorganized, louse ridden, loincloth wearing barbarians who only washed when they were caught out in the rain or fell into a river and who needed to import oriental ideas before they could organize themselves into sophisticated cultures because they were to dull to devise such concepts by themselves.

        I'm not even sure how you got modded insightful. Isn't it obvious that this was a battle over football, or soccer, or whatever you want to call it? What else would cause thousands of Europeans to band together and cause mayhem? The devastating effect of European football can be seen across the centuries and the ferocity of it culminated with the crusades, when Pope Urban II was tired of seeing the Roma FC lose in friendlies to Beitar Jerusalem and decided to take matters into his own hands.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          What else would cause thousands of Europeans to band together and cause mayhem?

          Well, a certain ethnic group from the Middle East gets them riled up on occasion. And no - the Germans weren't the first - or even the last, to get riled up by them.

      • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:12AM (#51791659) Homepage Journal

        What you say near the end is what is the most fascinating about ancient history: That we regularily underestimate their capabilities, often vastly. There was so much trade going on between so distant areas in a time where our mental image has isolated villages barely surviving.

        • There was so much trade going on between so distant areas in a time where our mental image has isolated villages barely surviving.

          It seems like confusion about what actually is, but not completely. Most people never left their hometown until recently and a whole lot of people still never get far. It seems like both things are true. I don't know about the barely surviving thing, though. If you have enough people in one place to have a village, they have to be there for a reason. Clearly it was true for some people; whole cultures wiped themselves out by depleting their resources.

        • by e r ( 2847683 )
          I thhink that's because of the rise of the idea that we're modern, smart, scientific, and oh-so-much more enlightened than our ancestors. It now seems to be completely accepted among progressives and transhumanists and has a strong foothold among otherwise very intelligent demographics (i.e. the /. crowd).

          Yes, I'm aware of the Flynn effect [wikipedia.org]. But I'm convinced that it's really just a manifestation of the same problems as the Elo rating system [wikipedia.org], or a result of several other factors [wikipedia.org] and not a true measure that
      • ... it could have been part of some major trans-European migration like the one that brought down the Roman empire. Secondly it could have been a large scale raid like the armies that raided Britain and France during the peak of the Viking age.

        I'm guessing that you are merely comparing these events rather than suggesting that this find represents these events, since TFA suggests that this battle occurred 3200 years ago, while the events you mention occurred within the last 1000-1700 years.

        The oddity, of course, is that such a major cultural-ethnic event has not left other significant evidence. Moreover, it should be recognized that a large-scale battle generally requires a large-scale political organization--if not a centralized government, then

        • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:19PM (#51793419)

          ... it could have been part of some major trans-European migration like the one that brought down the Roman empire. Secondly it could have been a large scale raid like the armies that raided Britain and France during the peak of the Viking age.

          one might wonder what could have been meaningful enough to these people to generate such massive warfare.

          In a word: Amber... There were other valuable trade goods flowing down from Denmark/Norway/Sweden (and Eastern Baltic coast too) but Amber was transported down through this region from Denmark for example for thousands of years but along with tin, which did not occur in Scandinavia or N-Germany, amber which is plentiful in the region was probably one of the most valuable trade goods of the age. Recent surveys have found a number of forts dotting the Amber trade route from the Baltic through the Alps and into Italy. I remember at least one location in Germany, Austria or Switzerland where Mycenaean artefacts were found including a seal IIRC. The Amber route seems to have been heavily contested and the leaders of the tribes who found themselves sitting astride that trade route and were able to tax the merchants using it would have been richer than god and the focus of much envy from their less well located neighbours. It's the old story, you find oil under your land and your neighbour who doesn't have any oil under his land still feels entitled to drill obliquely under the property line into your oil deposits.

          • That's fascinating, thanks. I still wonder, however, how precisely the desire for amber was translated into a large-scale battle. Trade goods would easily generate war if there were two particularly large tribes that were united enough under centralized (or central-ish) leadership in order to come to war with one another. However, if the society was decentralized and diffused into small tribes--which, in my very limited knowledge of the region and times seems possible--then it is more difficult to generate

        • ... it could have been part of some major trans-European migration like the one that brought down the Roman empire. Secondly it could have been a large scale raid like the armies that raided Britain and France during the peak of the Viking age.

          I'm guessing that you are merely comparing these events rather than suggesting that this find represents these events, since TFA suggests that this battle occurred 3200 years ago, while the events you mention occurred within the last 1000-1700 years.

          Yes, I was just musing about how you might get an army of soldiers from places as diverse as Poland, Scandinavia and Southern Germany getting ambushed and massacred at a bridge crossing in Northern Germany by seeking examples in later history. I think It is useful to examine the behaviour of peoples in later history to try and figure out the wider contest. Towards the end of the Roman empire you sometimes go various different tribes that were often extraordinarily ethnically and culturally diverse merging i

    • Lack of marketing. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:36AM (#51791531)

      Chances are this didn't get recorded in history due to lack of marketing.
      Probably due to the fact neither side had gained an advantage they needed so no victor to make the history.

      I mean just think of the Korean war? If it weren't for the popular TV show M.A.S.H it probably would be really the forgotten war. And that is something that happened within people's lifetimes.

      • by rasmusbr ( 2186518 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @10:39AM (#51792145)

        Nothing from this time and place got recorded, not a single word. People were illiterate. There is art that appears suggestive of tales and religious myths centred around seafaring and sun worship.

        The earliest records from northern Europe were written by Roman explorers and historians more than a millennium later.

        • by nbauman ( 624611 )

          They could tell ballads, and pass them on that way.

          However, they couldn't record the ballads. They didn't have digital recorders back then. They didn't even have vinyl.

    • by khallow ( 566160 )

      Iman Wilkens makes a case for the Trojan War not occuring in the Mediteranean

      So what? Iman Wilkens could make a case for the Moon being made of green cheese with equal facility. There's no way the Greeks of the time knew where England was, much less had the capability to invade it. And the Bronze Age collapse (of which the "sea peoples" were mentioned by the Egyptians) never affected Western Europe as far as we can tell but was contained to the lands around the eastern Mediterranean.

    • You are most certainly wrong. The Phantom Time theory teaches us that the Trojan War was the same thing as the Crusades, and Jerusalem is not in England.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:58AM (#51791127) Journal
    The 'bloody scrum of europeans killing each other over something cryptic' bit isn't exactly news; but TFA describes a relatively massive number of combatants, with isotopic signatures suggesting they came a considerable distance to reach the site and with equipment and healed wounds suggesting that they were comparatively experienced rather than just the local peasant militia(which, given the low population density of the place at the time, wouldn't have amounted to much).

    I have to wonder how this all worked logistically: ~1,200BC wasn't exactly renowned for its medical technology, regular agricultural surpluses, or food storage capabilities. Aside from motivating this many guys to slog all the way to this site, simply keeping them healthy and fed long enough so they could kill one another before disease or starvation got them must have been a real trick.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @07:34AM (#51791323)
      An army of a couple thousand men isn't all that difficult to provide for. The Sioux nation didn't have much in the way of medical technology or food surpluses, but they brought together an army of several thousand to fight Custer at Little Bighorn. The battle that happened at the Tollense River could well have been something similar. Either two large forces came together, or a few hundred men were surrounded and annihilated by a much larger force.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You missed the point entirely. Sure the Sioux could do it, but that was in the "modern age" (compared to the battle here in question) with "modern" knowledge.
        The battle in question happened thousands of years ago...

        • It simply doesn't take a lot of technology for a group of people to decide to kill another group of people and take what they had, all you need is a rock and willingness to kill. You don't need a food surplus when your plan is take the food of your neighbors.

          History is replete with this theme, the Vikings alone spent hundreds of years raiding Europe and the British isles and taking people, food and items of value rather than producing their own. There was a period of time where the vikings numbers were larg

          • The thing is, you are talking about in TFA 1000s of people traveling 100s of miles (over land) to do battle, in which case you absolutely need pretty advanced food technology.

      • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:25AM (#51791503)

        An army of a couple thousand men isn't all that difficult to provide for. The Sioux nation didn't have much in the way of medical technology or food surpluses, but they brought together an army of several thousand to fight Custer at Little Bighorn. The battle that happened at the Tollense River could well have been something similar. Either two large forces came together, or a few hundred men were surrounded and annihilated by a much larger force.

        I always imagined neolithic and early bronze age Northern-Europe cultures as being similar to the woodland Indians in many ways when it came to raiding-for-cattle-and-women type warfare. There is some evidence of that from Germany ranging back into the Neolithic. In one site DNA analysis revealed that out of a couple or so families massacred by unknown assailants the men were local but the women were from a neighbouring region and were possibly kidnapped in a raid and force married to the men they were buried with. The interesting thing is that the arrowheads that killed them were pretty distinctive for the region from which the women originally came from so it did not help them that the raiders may have been from the tribes these women originally belonged to. They were still killed in cold blood rather than rescued by their own people. When you get to the late bronze age and early iron age there may have been some parallels to the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in terms of social organization and military organization. So as early as the bronze age one was perhaps seeing the level of social organization beginning to emerge in N-Europe that you have in the region during Roman times when local chieftains and petty kings there seem to have been able to put together armies big enough that it required multiple Roman legions to deal with them. Even drumming together 2000 men, making them into an army and keeping them under control requires a pretty high level of organization.

    • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:02AM (#51791405)

      The 'bloody scrum of europeans killing each other over something cryptic' bit isn't exactly news; but TFA describes a relatively massive number of combatants, with isotopic signatures suggesting they came a considerable distance to reach the site and with equipment and healed wounds suggesting that they were comparatively experienced rather than just the local peasant militia(which, given the low population density of the place at the time, wouldn't have amounted to much). I have to wonder how this all worked logistically: ~1,200BC wasn't exactly renowned for its medical technology, regular agricultural surpluses, or food storage capabilities. Aside from motivating this many guys to slog all the way to this site, simply keeping them healthy and fed long enough so they could kill one another before disease or starvation got them must have been a real trick.

      Actually it was... Healers back then seem to have had a pretty good track record with things like arrow extraction, they were probably able to sew up and to some degree disinfect stab and slash wounds and they could repair scull damage from blunt trauma (read: hand thrown rocks, sling shot projectiles and war clubs) which is pretty impressive. I once saw an old Zulu medicine man describe how you treat a scull fracture due to a blow from a war club. You usually have to drill into the scull making carefully sure you don't drill into the brain matter which takes training and specialist tools. Sometimes this is done simply to pull out a section of scull that is pressuring the brain, in other cases it is t relieve pressure on the brain in which case you get a sound that he described as a "like the one you hear when you open a can of soda". If there is an impact fracture like this one [sciencemag.org] you may have to remove large fragments of bone, do some carving, chiselling and pick bone fragments out of the brain matter before you sew the wound up. There are recorded survival rates of up to 70-80%.

      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @10:28AM (#51792083) Journal

        There are actually prehistorical findings roughly up to 40k years old of scull and probably brain surgery. Skulls that where closed again with shells and evidently the bone grew back into the edges of the shells in a way that indicate the survivours left decades after that injury.

        Regarding medical knowledge (that is more a comment to the parents), I think the misconception comes from the fact that modern people have not much of it, except for *cough* *cough* doctors and nurses.

        E.g. Salvia (the plant) and Salvia (from the mouth) and Peppermint most definitely were well known as "medicals". Or mushrooms ...

        Plenty of animals have "medical knowledge" and eat appropriated plants or even "earth/soil" when needed.

        Probably most people consider herbs for healing hokus pokus not knowing that the exact same substances are meanwhile simply crafted chemically ... I for my part have always a few oils (instead of the plants or herbs) to treat simple stuff. E.g. blunt injuries from sports, are best treated with arnica. You hardly find anything modern that is "better" than it. And a cream with 10% or more Arnica costs close to nothing.

        • Salvia (from the mouth)

          Do you mean saliva?

          Regarding medical knowledge ... modern people have not much of it

          Obviously.

        • by dargaud ( 518470 )
          Except that most Arnica sold nowadays is homeopathic, meaning there's nothing in the tube except for vaseline.
          • I only have high dosed Arnica. I'm not at home, so I don't know the percentage.
            Never seen homeopathic creams. And homeopathy treatments make not much sense for external injuries anyway. They only work for stuff that comes from an chemical imbalance (if at all ;) )

      • After that horrid type of surgery, it might be far more pleasant to simply die. Early death was the expected norm not that long ago. I think the difficulty of life as well as the expectation of dying young, made the idea of massive battles more palatable to our forefathers. Too much brutal hard work, as well as too much suffering, make death look like a great vacation from it all.
    • Fascinating read.

      It's often repeated that history gets written by the winners, but it is increasingly clear the histories we are able to access skew our very interpretation of it.

      How many battles, stories, great civilizations, rises, and falls are lost to us forever because of a lack of record?

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @08:05AM (#51791423) Homepage

      Not that bad, to be honest. If you can't have a week's worth of food in stock, then you're never going to last the winter anyway. And that's "in stock" for each man alive, for his families, etc.

      Extrapolating that to "Lads, these newcomers are raping our women (or whatever), all the other villages are affected too, and we need to get rid of them. It's agreed that we all attack at dawn on the day after full moon?" and each man bringing a bag of food, plus some extra, plus telling all their friends in the next village and so on until it gets down to the guy who says "That's two weeks walking, I'll have to consider it more carefully"? Not that unusual.

      People think that ancient peoples were stupid, unskilled or unable to plan. They weren't. The pyramids had been up for thousands of years at this time, remember. Do you assume that Egypt was the only civilisation capable of organisation?

      Think of the Bronze Age (hint: Bronze. Weapons) as a time of the hunter, and it all becomes clear. We used to run huge animals to exhaustion over days of chasing. You can't do that on an empty stomach either. These people weren't stupid. They just weren't intellectual.

      • If civilization continues to progress for another 3,000 years, then the people in the year 5,016 will likely stereotype us as savages that just barely survived and couldn't plan anything massive simply because we didn't have access to futuristic technologies that they had. Sure, it might take us weeks or months to do things that people in 5,016 might do in a day, but we can still get it done. Similarly, while we might be able to organize and stage a battle of this magnitude in days, this doesn't mean that

        • Similarly, while we might be able to organize and stage a battle of this magnitude in days, this doesn't mean that people around 1200 BCE couldn't do it at all. It just might have taken them longer to pull it together.

          Actually, if it took them longer to pull it together, they couldn't have done it. They would have starved. The truth is that when you get people pissed off, it doesn't take them that long to get their shit together. But when we do something now, there's a bunch of formalities and paperwork. We have to have meetings to schedule the meetings. On the flip side, we build supply lines that can persist essentially indefinitely, so that instead of losing troops to starvation and illness we can lose them to depress

          • I meant things like communications would have taken longer. In order to tell people five villages over "Send your strongest men with weapons and supplies to attack the enemy on this date" would have taken a longer amount of time back then than it would now. Some people assume that this slower communication means that they couldn't have possibly pulled it off, but it just means there was more planning involved - thinking about who to send as messengers by which routes to get the word spread the fastest. J

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Just because they couldn't post "Need strong men, weapons, supplies for a battle in 2 weeks. #BattleOverTheBridge" on Twitter doesn't mean organizing this was impossible.

              Depending on the culture they might have been able to do a verbal version of just that. If market day* fell before the battle then everyone for many days travel would have heard about it without any specific planning at all. Of course people talk and anyone traveling any direction carries the news with them. Have you ever been backpacking? When people are heading opposite directions, the first thing they talk about after a friendly greeting is what is happening in the direction they are headed. Assuming a r

            • "Five villages over" could be 50 miles. Those villages might have been able to spare five to ten men each - if they'd been willing to send any at all. After all, they're not here, not yet.

              And "just taken longer" doesn't work when you have to carry your food with you; beyond a certain range you'd have to set off with more rations than you could physically lift. Again, that's assuming you have sufficient suitable food to spare.

              Jump forward a couple of millennia, with all the improvements in technology

              • My bet is that they used trained messenger birds coupled with runners, and did what most armies did until relatively modern times - they took rations, but the bulk of what the men ate came from what animals they could hunt/fish and what plants they could "harvest" along the way.

                What I am finding surprising about this entire thing is that troops this far afield from their home territories seemingly weren't challenged by anyone not keen on having them pass through their turf on the way to this battle.

        • just barely survived and couldn't plan anything massive

          Like preventing man-made climate change?

      • Extrapolating that to "Lads, these newcomers are raping our women (or whatever), all the other villages are affected too, and we need to get rid of them.

        TFA, citing both skeletal marks on the bodies, and the artefacts found on the site, suggest that most of the bodies and tools were to a considerable degree specialised for fighting, and the bodies had often healed wounds. The archaeologists used the word "warriors" not "militia" or "band of farmers" after due consideration of their evidence.

    • I have to wonder how this all worked logistically: ~1,200BC wasn't exactly renowned for its medical technology, regular agricultural surpluses, or food storage capabilities. Aside from motivating this many guys to slog all the way to this site, simply keeping them healthy and fed long enough so they could kill one another before disease or starvation got them must have been a real trick.

      In the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9CE), a Roman army (three legions, around 15k soldiers) was slaughtered by 'primitive' German tribes, who presumably had to have at least as many troops as the Romans.

      In all likelihood, the Germanic tribes of that era weren't much better off logistically than the folks at 1200 B.C. They were drawing from a heavily forested region with rough terrain, poor roads and limited crops. So if they managed it, there's no reason to suppose bronze age folks couldn't manage a fe

  • and not left any stories about it, even oral legends and songs

    • Or it scarred the survivors so much that they refused to talk about it. Plenty of people who return don't want to talk about what happened on the battlefield. It's not like the movies where you have a misfit group who has an entertaining time for a few hours until the credits roll. It's a horrible, gruesome affair - and ancient wars were likely even more horrible since they would have been fought in close combat with sharp weapons. The fighters could have been tripping over half-dead warriors, stepping

    • by dwye ( 1127395 )

      Or their society persisted until the event receded from the bards' repetoire. This one battle was about the same time as the Trojan War. I don't think that any German or Celtic legend that hooks into historical events or individuals precedes the Punic Wars, about 1000 years later, and most don't go back to Caesar, despite extensive trade and mercenary hiring. The amazing thing is that the Greeks managed to preserve (any) legends from the explosion of Thera to the Trojan War despite at least one fall of c

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... soldiers have been coaxed into marching onto a battlefield and dying in their thousands so Tyrant A can enjoy riches instead of Tyrant B.

    USMC Major General Smedley Butler said "War Is A Racket. It always has been.

    It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

    A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it see
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @07:56AM (#51791377)

    Was it near a volcano?

    • The nearest active volcano was probably ... Vesuvius. Though there has been some very minor explosive volcanism from time to time in Eifel region of Germany, that was probably over some thousands of years before this event.

      Actually, I'm just wondering if the termination (or recent pause) of Eifel volcanism might be related to the crustal stress changes from deglaciation.

      Sorry, were you being funny, or seeking abuse? Next office along.

  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:09AM (#51791649)

    Wow, half the lifetime of the earth!

    --AMERICA

    • Ach, you almost made me snort my Coke...
    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      Australia got the criminals (i.e. the people who liked to have a good time and bend a few laws) while America got the religious nuts.

      We definitely lost that one. At least all of our animals are not poisonous.
  • So... what upcoming Hollywood movie are we promoting with this story? Hmmm?

  • Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. This is clearly the evidence of a battle between Cimmerians and Aquilonians.

  • My Bronze Age LARP group has been wondering where we left all our gear since the last convention. Getting it all back's gonna be a bitch, though.
  • Wow, this find is incredible.
    A 300 ft' + maintained wood and stone bridge
    A battle with possibly thousands of combatants
    Many of the combatants from locations hundreds of miles away(Mediterranean)
    Many combatants show signs of previous healed wounds(professional fighters)
    In a part of Europe that was essentially "backwater" compared to the Bronze Age civilizations of the Near East and Mediterranean

    Read "1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed" for a great analysis of the various factors that con
    • Many of the combatants from locations hundreds of miles away(Mediterranean)

      The stable isotope data that was reported gives regional (a couple of hundred miles across) accuracy. If there had been a concentration of people from one particular set of regions - such as the Mediterranean - then it would have shown clearly in the stable-isotope data and been commented upon. In fact, an concentration of people who had sea-fish as a major component of their diet would also have stood out (due to the large, fairly

  • We need to get this story down and on paper because it would make an epic Hollywood feature.... Instead of using Anglican actors to portray Greek and Mediterranean people we can now use those same Brad Pit actors to portray actual Northern Europeans... Imagine that...

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