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NewsChemical analysis confirmed the site of death of the XIX Roman legion

Chemical analysis confirmed the site of death of the XIX Roman legion

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Roman legion – German scientists conducted a chemical analysis of artifacts found at the site of the probable death of Roman troops during the battle in the Teutoburg Forest in the ninth year of our era. Research has confirmed that the Germans destroyed the XIX Legion in the settlement of Kalkrise, the first archaeological evidence of which was discovered in 1987. This is reported on the website of the Bergbau-Museum in Bochum.

In September of the ninth year of our era, three Roman legions (XVII, XVIII and XIX), three cavalry units and six cohorts of infantry led by Publius Quintilius Varus, accompanied by slaves, servants, artisans and women, moved through Germany from summer to winter you camp During this march, Varus and his troops were persuaded to turn off the wide paved road into the Teutoburg Forest, where they were attacked by Germanic tribes led by the Cherucian leader Arminius.

As a result of this unexpected attack, all three legions, together with the commander, died, and the battle itself led to a long struggle between the Empire and the Germans, who eventually managed to defend their independence. According to historians, about 15-20 thousand Roman soldiers, officers and civilians died in the Teutoburg Forest.

One of the most controversial moments of this battle is where it took place. Until the 1980s, scholars only had data from written sources, from which it was problematic to establish this. At that time, about 750 different hypotheses had been collected. But in 1987, an English amateur archaeologist found material evidence of the battle between the Romans and the Germans not far from the city of Osnabrück (Lower Saxony), in the settlement of Kalkrise, after which professional scientists took up the work.

Although many were initially skeptical of the scientific discovery, today Calcrise is considered by most researchers to be the site of the death of Varus and his legions. At the same time, there are enough critics of this version of the development of events.

Scientists from three German organizations have joined together in a scientific project to study Roman artefacts found in Kalkrise, where, according to the prevailing hypothesis, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place. With the help of chemical analysis, the researchers decided to establish to which of the Roman subdivisions the discovered items belonged. Each legion had forges where weapons, equipment and personal items were given for repair.

During this work, the products received side micro impurities, the analysis of which makes it possible to distinguish one workshop from another. In total, over two years of research, the scientists examined about 550 bronze and brass objects. They elucidated the distinctive features characteristic of the belongings of different legions by analyzing artifacts whose association with specific legions is known from written sources.

As a result of the study, the scientists came to the conclusion that the artifacts associated with the XIX legion differ significantly from the belongings of other Roman units that were located in Germany. In addition, the finds from Dangstetten, where this part was located before the battle, and the artifacts from Kalkrise turned out to be identical in impurities. At the same time, the artifacts from the camps of the legions that did not die in the battle differ significantly in their composition. Scholars have concluded that this serves as additional evidence in favor of the demise of the XIX Legion at Kalkryse. This casts doubt on the argument of critics of the hypothesis that numerous Roman objects found in this territory may be related to the campaign of the general Germanicus in AD 15.

Photo: German soldiers attack (Otto Albert Koch / Public Domain)

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