Roman battle site in northern Germany dated to 200-250 AD

Interesting new battlefield find of Roman artifacts in northern Germany that indicates that the Romans were still active in the area two and a half centuries later than conventional wisdom had posited.

“We thought that with the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Romans gave up on this region and pulled back behind the limes,” – says Henning Hassmann, the Lower Saxony Conservation Department’s lead archaeologist.

Roman battlefield archaeology

Because of the advanced nature of Roman battlefield archaeology, the finds could be placed fairly precisely in the chronological record. Also, the tools and weapons found had enough organic matter still attached for carbon dating to place the items at 200-250 AD. More than six-hundred artifacts were found from sandal nails to wagon hardware to spear and arrow heads. The site was originally found by metal detector enthusiasts who reported the find to local archaeologists.

Kalefeld is in northern Germany, approximately 100 KM south of Hanover

The battle is now being referred to as The Battle of the Harzhorn. It is sited on a heavily forested hillside northeast of the town of Kalefeld, Germany.

The Battle of the Harzhorn is historically significant, because it took place two centuries after historians thought the Romans had abandoned major operations in the north of Germany. The  Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (~ September, 9 AD) was thought to be the last of the major Roman excursions in this area of Germania. It was previously believed that the Romans had given up on trying to conquer the lands between the Rhine and the Elbe after Teutoburg. Even more intriguing is the fact that archaeologists believe that the Romans were coming from the north when the Battle of the Harzhorn took place which could indicate that they had been ranging even further north prior to the battle.

Photo attribution:
Deutsch: Grabungsschnitt am Harzhorn
Date August 2012
Source Own work
Author Axel Hindemith
(required by the license) Foto: Axel Hindemith / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-by-sa-3.0 de

Sounds like the opening of Gladiator was near spot on!

The items found and the battle site, including the hillside, cold weather, and tall pines make the opening scene of Gladiator look very accurate. Enjoy the clip below to remind you of how awesome the Roman military machine could be.