Massive Discovery of 2,000-Year-Old Human Bones Reveals ‘Barbarian’ Rituals

Remnants of pelvic bones belonging to four different humans were found threaded together.

The new findings of remains from a Germanic battlefield challenge traditional beliefs about ancient warfare. (DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini/Getty Images)
De Agostini/Getty Images

Archaeologits in Denmark have uncovered 2,095 human bones and bone fragments across 185 acres of wetland at what was a post-battle burial site. Scientific testing of the bones indicate that most of the individuals were young male adults who died in a single event in the early first century C.E. Unhealed trauma wounds on the remains, as well as finds of weapons, suggest that the people died in a large battle, reports National Geographic. 

Researchers think that more than 380 people may have been interred in boggy waters along the Danish lakeshore. Many of the bones show animal gnaw marks consistent with bodies left exposed for six months to a year before being submerged in the wetland. Some of the bones are arranged in bundles with stones brought in from other areas. In one case, fragments of hip bones from four different individuals were threaded on a tree branch. Because of this evidence, scientists believe that the remains were collected from a battlefield elsewhere and then ritually deposited in the marsh. Researchers also believe that the removal of the bodies for internment in the march may have been the action of the victors trying to memorialize their triumph.

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