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Lecture | Louwe Kooijmans lecture

From Wassenaar to Tollense: Early warfare in the Bronze Age

Wednesday 11 December 2019
National Museum of Antiquities
Rapenburg 28
2311 EW Leiden

In 1993 Prof. Leendert Louwe Kooijmans published an unusual Bronze Age multiple burial of male individuals. Trauma suggested the individuals to be victims of a violent conflict. This was a new aspect of Bronze Age society, but only the tip of the iceberg: In the Tollense valley in Northeast Germany amateur archaeologist Ronald Borgwardt detected many human bones in the river bank including an arm bone with a Bronze Age arrow head shot in.

The talk will present results of ten years of interdisciplinary research in the Tollense valley. Diving surveys, metal detectoring and excavations demonstrate that finds are distributed on a stretch of river more than 2.5 km long. More than 12.000 human bones and many Bronze objects including more than 50 socketed arrow heads show a unique concentration of finds which are without doubt connected to a violent conflict. So far more than 140 individuals can be reconstructed and detailed studies suggest that a single large battle took place with possibly more than 2000 warriors involved. A track way built in the early second millennium calBC indicates an important Bronze Age trade route crossing the valley and this was probably the starting point of the battle. New results also provide some evidence on the origin of some of the warriors involved in the battle.

Register for the lecture on the website of the National Museum of Antiquities.

Photo: Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege/S.Sauer
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