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Macabre Archeology: Forty Hectares Of Remains Found In Denmark Bog
Forty hectares of remains have been found in Alken Enge bog located in in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark.
A fractured skull and a thigh bone hacked in half and numerous other finds of damaged human bones along with axes, spears, clubs and shields confirm that the bog at Alken Enge was the site of violent conflict. For almost two months, Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archeology at Aarhus University, and a team of fifteen archaeologists and geologists have been working to excavate the remains of a large army that was sacrificed at the site around the time of the birth of Christ. The remains will be exhumed from the excavation site over the coming days. Then an international team of researchers will attempt to discover who these warriors were and where they came from by performing detailed analyses of the remains.
"The dig has produced a large quantity of skeletal remains, and we believe that they will give us the answers to some of our questions about what kind of events led up to the army ending up here," explains Holst.
Other discoveries at Alken Enge
The discovery of human skeletal remains at the Alken Enge location has come as no surprise. With several well-known sacrificial locations of different character in the river valley of Illerup Ådal, also known as the "Holy Valley", there is no doubt that the area has been a focal point for a wider hinterland as a place to conduct sacrificial rituals, which appear to have taken place regularly during the Iron Age. Forlev Nymølle is a well-known ritual location where more every-day sacrifice patterns in the form of pottery, stone collections and various other manufactured wooden objects have been found. One of these wooden objects has been interpreted as a female goddess figurine. It is thought that several of the other excavated objects could have been sacrificed to this goddess.
Alken Wetlands is primarily interesting in connection with the discovery of sacrificed warriors, but there are also other sacrifices of various kinds with various datings. Within the deposited peat layers in roughly the same horizon as the human remains, a discovery was made of three lanceheads in iron and a shield of wood. The weapon finds are generally so few in number that they are not considered to have been sacrificed. In several horizons there are large amounts of manufactured and raw wood. The manufactured wood consists of both wood planks and timber, both smaller and larger in dimension. A myriad of more or less vertical sticks that have been hammered down are also found in the peat layers. Furthermore, pottery has been discovered, which can be dated from the Early Pre-Roman Iron Age to Early Medieval. Moreover, several excavation sites were found to contain sacrificed animal bones. In conclusion, the location of Alken Wetlands is thought to be a temporally very complex sacrificial location