Urgeschichte und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie

Externally funded project: Kalkriese

The project

In Kalkriese, Gemeinde Bramsche, Landkreis Osnabrück, a section of the battle grounds where the so called battle of Varus (battle of the Teutoburg forest) took place, is being excavated. Excavations first started in 1987/88. According to Roman reports, three legions, supposedly 20 000 men, and their auxiliaries perished in Kalkriese. Nothing is known of the losses on the Germanic side. 

The area of interest extends to several square kilometers; metal probes are used for prospectional purposes. Excavations so far have uncovered a turf wall, suggesting the naturally narrow passageway between the Kalkrieser mountain and the Great Moors through which the Romans passed was even smaller than previously presumed. This turf wall appears to have already collapsed during combat. Under the wall, an almost complete skeleton of a mule in harness was found. In a bell, which seems to have been used as a provisional drawbar cap, the copper salts conserved the pea and oat straw with which it was filled. So far, 250 singular bones have been found on the excavated former surface area. 

Previously, the area had been occupied by settlements during the late stone age and the iron age. In a prehistoric trench, which so far has not been dated, three round pits containing bones, were excavated. The contents of the pits were recovered in gypsum blocks. There were 20 blocks in total, some of which weigh 250 to 300 kg. Most of them weigh between 80 and 150 kg. Some naturally formed pits were found as well, which were also filled with bones. A few of them were also recovered in gypsum. 

Third-party donor

Archäologischer Museumspark Osnabrücker Land gGmbH, Venner Str. 69, 49565 Bramsche-Kalkriese.

 

Literature recommendation

W. Schlüter et al., Kalkriese - Römer im Osnabrücker Land, Austellungskatalog, Osnabrück 1993.