Press release issued on 15th February 2012:
After a very exciting excavation in the summer of 2009 near Vædebro in Alken Wetlands, the Carlsberg Foundation has granted 1.5 million DKK for further research and excavations in Alken Wetlands. The meadows are located where Illerup River flows into Lake Mossø. The lake area was greater (approx. 600 x 600 m) around year 0 when it was the scene of a great sacrificial event. What archaeologists discover today under approx. 2 meters of peat are human bones lying on the old lake bed as single scattered bones and not as whole skeletons.
The discoveries at Alken Wetlands is unique in an international context. No other discovery has been made of such a great quantity of sacrificed warriors from around year 0. This opens up a unique opportunity to gain an insight into who the people were that were part of an army at this point in time, and the fate they suffered after a defeat.
The grant from the Carlsberg Foundation makes it possible to initiate a new large scale excavation in Alken Wetlands and analyse the finds and the countryside. Together, they will hopefully help to clarify the many questions that we have; Where does the defeated army come from? Why did they just end up in Alken Wetlands? Can the anthropological analysis help to clarify the circumstances of the warriors fate from when they were killed in war till they were sacrificed in Alken Wetlands? Is it possible to find usable DNA in the bones? How did the landscape look at the time and how were the sacrifices conducted? How much do the contemporary Roman sources tell us about Germanic warlords and their ritual practices related to warfare?
The project is a collaboration between Skanderborg Museum and Aarhus University, Department of Prehistoric Archaeology.
The stage is set for a large interdisciplinary collaboration involving both national and international partners. Efforts will be focused on documenting social conditions and bring the research to a point where it can provide the basis for funds applications for further research in the coming years. During the summer of 2012 we will issue another press release in connection with the archaeological investigations.
Mads Holst, Aarhus University, Associate Professor, Archaeology, the Department Of Culture and Society, Project Coordinator
Ejvind Hertz, Skanderborg Museum, Curator and Head of the Alken Enge Excavation