Remains of hundreds of warriors who died in violent battle 2,000 years ago found in Danish bog

The remains of hundreds of warriors who died  in a violent battle around 2,000 years ago have been uncovered in a Danish  bog.

For the last two months, excavators have come  across damaged bones, fractured skulls and a thigh bone hacked in half, along  with axes, spears and clubs.

They will exhume the remains over the next  few days in the hope of learning more about the fighters.

Fatal injuries: This fractured skull and a thighbone hacked in half are among the remains of hundreds of warriors who died in a violent battle which have been uncovered in a Danish bog

Fatal injuries: This fractured skull and a thighbone  hacked in half are among the remains of hundreds of warriors who died in a  violent battle which have been uncovered in a Danish bog 

Evidence suggests more artefacts are  buried  at the site, located in the peat of an old lake bed in the Alken  Enge wetlands  near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark.

Researchers also aim to piece  together the  events that took place there by carrying out more digs  across the 99-acre site  and reconstructing the ancient landscape,  excavation director Ejvind Hertz,  field director of the Scanderborg  Museum, said.

The bodies were deposited in a small  basin  of the lake, which has seen its water level change several times  over the  years. fractured skull and a thigh bone hacked in half — finds of damaged human  bones along with axes, spears, clubs and shields  confirm that the bog at Alken  Enge was the site of violent conflict

‘It’s clear that this must have been a quite  far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound  effect on the  society of the time,’ said Project Manager Mads Kähler  Holst, professor of  archaeology at Aarhus University.

Macabre: This skull, excavated from the peat of an lake bed in the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland, Denmark, bears a mortal wound caused by a spear or arrow

Macabre: This skull, excavated from the peat of an lake  bed in the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland, Denmark, bears a mortal wound  caused by a spear or arrow

Dr Holst and his team of fifteen  archaeologists and geologists have been working to excavate the remains of a  large army that was sacrificed at the site around the time of the birth of  Christ.

The skeletal remains of hundreds of warriors  are believed to lie buried in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East  Jutland, Denmark.

HOW A BOG PRESERVED AN ENTIRE ARMY

The dig is taking place in damp grazing  meadows near Jutland’s large lake, the Mossø.

To reach the remains, it is necessary to dig  almost two meters below the water table of the Mossø.

´The water has delayed decomposition, which  is why the remains are in such good condition when we dig them up,’ said Ejvind  Hertz, Curator of Archaeology at Skanderborg Museum.

The remains will be exhumed from the  excavation site over the coming days.

Then an international team of researchers  will attempt to discover who these warriors were and where they came from by  performing detailed analyses of the remains.

‘The dig has produced a large quantity of  skeletal remains, and we believe that they will give us the answers to some of  our questions about what kind of events led up to the army ending up here,’ said  Dr Holst.

However, it is believed the burial site could  cover a far larger area.

‘We’ve done small test digs at different  places in the 40 hectare Alken Enge wetlands area, and new finds keep emerging,’  says Field Director Ejvind Hertz of Scanderborg Museum, who is directing the  dig.

The team will focus on recreating the general  outlines of the events that took place at the site by performing smaller digs at  different spots across the bog and reconstructing what the landscape might have  looked like at the time of the birth of Christ.

A jawbone recovered from the excavation being carried out by Skanderbord Museum, Moesgård Museum and Aarhus University, funded with a grant from the Carlsberg Foundation

A jawbone recovered from the excavation being carried  out by Skanderbord Museum, Moesgård Museum and Aarhus University, funded with a  grant from the Carlsberg Foundation

At the same time as the archaeological dig,  geologists from the Department of Geoscience at AU have been investigating the  development of the bog.

‘The geological survey indicates that the  archaeological finds were deposited in a lake at a point in time when there was  a a smaller basin at the east end of Lake Mossø created by a tongue of land  jutting into the lake,’ explains Professor Bent Vad Odgaard, Aarhus  University.

This smaller basin became the Alken Enge bog  of today.

The geologists’ analyses also indicate that  the water level in the area has changed several times.

Mapping these periods of high and low water  levels chronologically using geological techniques will tell researchers what  the precise conditions were on the site at the time of the mass  sacrifice.

Weapon of mass destruction: This iron axe, measuring about 30 inches (75cm), was among a number of artefacts uncovered from the site

Weapon of mass destruction: This iron axe, measuring  about 30 inches (75cm), was among a number of artefacts uncovered from the  site

The excavation has been carried out by  Skanderbord Museum,  Moesgård Museum and Aarhus University, funded with a  grant from the Carlsberg Foundation.

It follows work done in 2008 and 2009 when  single, scattered bones were discovered lying about 6.6 feet under the peat in  the same location.

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