2016 March 25 Friday
Thousands Fought In Bronze Age Battle In Germany

A bigger battle than had previously been thought possible in 1250 BC northern Europe.

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.

How did people from over a wide area (southern and northern Europe, areas east and west) know to come together and fight in one spot on a single day? Were polities organized over a wider area then than we have suspected? What were they fighting over? What were the two sides? Will we ever know?

What's interesting: DNA analyzes are being done on some of the remains. But the bones are intermingled from lots of dead people. It isn't clear that any of the DNA will be able to be assigned to rival groups.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2016 March 25 09:33 PM 

Black Death said at March 27, 2016 3:15 PM:

Maybe they were fighting over immigration.

Engineer-Poet said at March 27, 2016 8:19 PM:

Wars against invaders are all about immigration.

Alexander M. Kim said at April 3, 2016 7:55 PM:

It isn't clear that any of the DNA will be able to be assigned to rival groups.

Perhaps not, but even jumbled skeletons contain lifeway information: geographic and dietary inferences from stable isotopes, degrees of lifetime exposure to violence ("Twenty-seven percent of the skeletons show signs of healed traumas from earlier fights, including three skulls with healed fractures"), height from long bones, etc. It would be quite telling if differences in any of these attributes had genetic correlates.

James Bowery said at April 11, 2016 7:51 AM:

Such large-scale conflicts are most likely organized by a literate elite adept, at the very least, of religious manipulation of mass psychology if not taxation. The place to look for historic records would be along the trade-routes from the contemporaneous literate civilizations to the south.

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