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Archeology All aspects of archeology, including moral, ethical, and legal considerations.

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 03:08 PM   #1
GMoneti
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Roman battlefield unearthed in Germany

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...SjJfzxr1A5wryQ

Very interesting. The item on the left seems like a top of a standard. The preservation levels seem incredible though. These artifacts look like freshly made. Most intriguing are the circumstances of this battle and the outcome. It would seem strange that the Romans won the battle but abandoned their dead soldiers, but if the Germanic tribes won the battle why didn't they take the weapons? Perhaps in either case they were in a hurry to get out. The article says this is located between Hannover and Kassel, which is pretty far up North.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 03:14 PM   #2
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There is a thread at forum on this.

Here is another article and a photo of a dagger found at the site.

http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20081211-16075.html


and another here

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...6720%2C00.html
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 03:28 PM   #3
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Ok, the dagger looks like it just came from the armory. I hope this is not some type of a hoax.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 03:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMoneti View Post
Ok, the dagger looks like it just came from the armory. I hope this is not some type of a hoax.
No, you are being paranoid.

I read that it was found in such fantastic condition because it was discovered buried in a plastic bag.

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
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No, you are being paranoid.
I read that it was found in such fantastic condition because it was discovered buried in a plastic bag.
I hate to be pedantic Mark, but technically, that would be plasticus bagus.

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 04:06 PM   #6
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Okaay, that explains it. Must've been one of those ziploc bags, for convenient use in time of battle.

Seriously though, is this even physically/chemically possible? To have a what seems like an iron dagger, buried for about 1800 years in those woods. I realize it would've been cleaned very well, but still, this would have to be some otherworldly soil.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 04:07 PM   #7
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Fascinating site, some pictures can be found here:
http://forum.hna.de/foto/displayimag...bum=3538&pos=4

and here:
http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/fo...Article=596566

See http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtop...=224649#224649 for a Commodus Sestertius, which shows a lot of wear. That makes me think of sestertii found in mid-3rd cent. hoards. Maybe Postumus time. They'll probably find some antoniniani which will precise the date of battle.
Göttingen - sesterce Commode A.jpg

Notice the quite impressive iron bolt heads from Scorpios (remember the beginning of Gladiator, taking place in the same kind of environment) ...
Göttingen - pointes.jpg

By the way, the item you mentioned is not an element of standard, which would be quite extraordinary (we only know of a Cohort silver plaque found with the body of the Signifer-standard bearer at Niederbieber, site where an auxiliary cohort was overran by Alamans in the mid-3rd cent.; and a Vexillum flag found in Egypt, now in the Hermitage I think; see http://www.ancients.info/gallery/sho...php/photo/6791 for more details on Roman standards); this is actually an element from a chariot: http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtop...=224644#224644

Jérôme

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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Thanks, Jerome.

I wasn't thinking of a legion's standard, but more of a smaller kind, if such were at all used. I guess I was deceived by comparing the image in my head with something like in this relief.

Do you know of any pictures of the plaque and flag you mentioned?
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 05:35 PM   #9
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I agree, the dagger looks a bit bogus. Are the forgers now going after archaeologists also? In some weird way that would be kind of funny if the archaeologist, who won't publish anything not found in context, are now pulling up fakes in context.

I wonder if archaeologists can tell a fake from an authentic item, like the fake Herod AE published in National Geographic last month.

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 07:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMoneti View Post
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...SjJfzxr1A5wryQ

Very interesting. The item on the left seems like a top of a standard. The preservation levels seem incredible though. These artifacts look like freshly made. Most intriguing are the circumstances of this battle and the outcome. It would seem strange that the Romans won the battle but abandoned their dead soldiers, but if the Germanic tribes won the battle why didn't they take the weapons? Perhaps in either case they were in a hurry to get out. The article says this is located between Hannover and Kassel, which is pretty far up North.
The battle were Varus lost the legions to the German barbarians in 9 AD occurred at Kalkriese which is just a little north east of Osnabruck. Kalkriese wouldn't be that far from the Hannover to Kassel corridor. So finding artifacts in that part of Germany may be isn't that unexpected. However, as several people have pointed out, the objects look too good to be true.

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Old Dec 18, 2008, 07:49 PM   #11
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Barry. I don't feel that your wish is weird at all. Maybe the archeological community will gain a better appreciation of persons with expertise in detecting fakes, such as yourself. Nothing beats the effect of a common enemy to bring together previously acromonious parties.

Jeff
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Old Dec 19, 2008, 05:40 AM   #12
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Will you doubt every dug out item? 'The truth is out there', the 'Bulgarian syndroma' has struck again

Well, this typical pugio (short knive part of the legionary equipment) just looks like having been processed through electrolysis, what's weird??

As to the other items, have you seen anything worth a lot of money (the main motive of counterfeiters) in these iron ballista bolts, spearheads, bronze chariot elements without decoration? Or maybe some German archaeologist in search of recognition by his peers will have bought these cheap items in Bulgaria, to spread them across some fields in Saxony, to be later found by some detectorist? Come on.

Jérôme

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Old Dec 19, 2008, 11:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMoneti View Post
Thanks, Jerome.

I wasn't thinking of a legion's standard, but more of a smaller kind, if such were at all used. I guess I was deceived by comparing the image in my head with something like in this relief.

Do you know of any pictures of the plaque and flag you mentioned?
Here are some finds from Niederbieber:

- the silver top of the cohort (Cohors VII Raetorum equitata) standard:




- the silver medallion of the standard (this will definitely contradict any theory about regular bronze medallions being used on military standards):




- the full reconstructed standard (with red vexillum):




- the metal part of the Draco standard:


(see story of the draco here:http://www.fectio.org.uk/articles/draco.htm)

I couldn't find any picture of the Hermitage Vexillum said to have been found in Egypt, and featuring a victoria on globe.

Jérôme
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Old Dec 19, 2008, 12:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roma_Orbis View Post
Will you doubt every dug out item? 'The truth is out there', the 'Bulgarian syndroma' has struck again

Well, this typical pugio (short knive part of the legionary equipment) just looks like having been processed through electrolysis, what's weird??

As to the other items, have you seen anything worth a lot of money (the main motive of counterfeiters) in these iron ballista bolts, spearheads, bronze chariot elements without decoration? Or maybe some German archaeologist in search of recognition by his peers will have bought these cheap items in Bulgaria, to spread them across some fields in Saxony, to be later found by some detectorist? Come on.

Jérôme

Wow. I did not mean to give anyone the "Bulgarian Syndroma".

Personally, I am only concerned with the question how can an iron dagger survive in such conditions for so long. Even if electrolysis was used, wouldn't the metal corrode deeper than the surface?

Btw, thanks for the pictures, Jerome.
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