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Julius Caesar battlefield unearthed in Netherlands

Archaeologists say they have proven for the first time that Julius Caesar set foot on what is now Dutch soil, destroying two Germanic tribes in a battle which left around 150,000 people dead.

Julius Caesar battlefield unearthed in Netherlands
Hundreds of bones have been found at the site, which were analysed using 
radiocarbon dating [Credit: VU University]
The two tribes were massacred in the fighting with the Roman emperor in 55 BC, on a battle site now at Kessel, in the southern province of Brabant.

A wealth of skeletons, spearheads, swords and a helmet have been dug up at the site over the past three decades.

Julius Caesar battlefield unearthed in Netherlands
Skeletons, spearheads, swords and a helmet have been unearthed at the site over 
the past three decades. Researchers were able to analyse the enamel on teeth to 
help age the victims, and found women and children [Credit: VU University]
But now carbon dating as well as other historical and geo-chemical analysis had helped to prove they dated back to the 1st century BC, the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam said in a statement.

"It is the first time that the presence of Caesar and his troops on Dutch soil has been explicitly shown," said archaeologist Nico Roymans.

Julius Caesar battlefield unearthed in Netherlands
These are iron swords, spearheads, a helmet and Germanic belt hooks. The bulk of this
 material dates from the (early) 1st century BC [Credit: VU University]
The two tribes, the Tencteri and the Usipetes, had originally come from an area east of the Rhine and had asked Caesar for asylum.

But Caesar refused and ordered his eight legions and calvary to destroy them, the Amsterdam university said.

Julius Caesar battlefield unearthed in Netherlands
The two tribes, the Tencteri and the Usipetes, came from an area east of 
the Rhine and had asked Caesar for asylum. Here, their path is shown 
in black, while the Romans are in red - with X marking the spot 
of the battle [Credit: VU University]
The Roman emperor had written about the battle in his firsthand account of the Gallic wars, "De Bello Gallico", but the exact location had remained a mystery until now.

Caesar said he wiped the tribes out, which would have meant more than 400,000 dead, but the university said the death toll was more likely to be closer to 150,000-200,000.

Source: AFP [December 11, 2015]
TANN

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1 comment :

  1. Interesting but Julius Ceasar was not emperor - his nephew Augustus was the first Roman emperor. ;-)

    ReplyDelete


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