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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 7:48 am    Post subject: Axe, Clubs & Shield from Alken Enge, Lake Mossø, Denmark         Reply with quote

The area of Alken Enge is where the Illerup River runs out into Lake Mossø.
Nearby at Fuglsang you have the famous Illerup Ådal weapon deposit; but this area have tons of human remains instead.
The digging is undergoing until 2015, so a lot more is expected to be found.

Bones of an entire army have been found (ultimo 2013 they had 1708 bones), but only very few weapons. It's possible the real weapon deposit is located somewhere else in the area.
The Alken Enge deposit is from the Time of Christ and so older than the Illerup Ådal ones that is from 200-500 AD.

Of the few weapons or possible weapons that has been found there are 1 working axe, but probably useful as a weapon, 2 clubs, 2 knife fragment, a tip from a sax (Seax) and among many shield fragments 1 is fairly well preserved.

Axe: (Photo: afd. Moesgård, Rikke G. Larsson). 75 cm work-axe.


Club_1: (Photo: Peter Jensen, Arkæologisk IT, AU). 65 cm of oak.


Club_2: Possible a spade converted into a club. Source: http://www.skanderborgmuseum.dk/Status_2013-1322.aspx


Shield: 94 cm long. Source: http://www.skanderborgmuseum.dk/Alken_Enge-En...-1070.aspx


One pretty interesting find of 4 pelvises on a stake (a trophy ?) can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK4Vp2EIQBc
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing this Niels.
Éirinn go Brách
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 3:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Thanks for sharing this Niels.


You are welcome. Big Grin
I'll wait for the museum to publish their 2014 report, since this summers diggings are finished. Maybe they have found some other weapons?
It is actually quite interesting that bodies and weapons in the Danish iron age seems to be deposited in different location.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2017 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The "Alken Enge" find of tons of human bones (2335 in all) from around the time of Christ are currently being examined.

Mollerup et al (2016): "The postmortem exposure interval of an Iron Age human bone assemblage from Alken Enge, Denmark".
Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/...9X16302723 (only abstract free)

The important discovery is that the bones were not deposited shortly after a battle!

"Patterns of animal damage on the Alken Enge bones are consistent with gnawing on proximal and distal ends of long bones and fresh breaks caused by large scavenging animals such as wolves and domestic dogs. The lack of rodent gnawing, fractures in dry and weathered bones and the absence of evidence for bacterial attack, together with the presence of framboidal pyrite, suggest that the bones were subjected to limited subaerial exposure, dismembered and partly defleshed before being deposited in the lake in prehistory".

So the first part of gnawing from wolves or dogs on the long bones probably highlights the conditions on the battlefield right after the battle, when the dead are scavenged - the so called "Val" described in the Viking Age where you gave the raven or the wolves food, when conducting battle.

So after this the bones were all gathered together (possibly dismembered first and defleshed for easier transportation?) and then much later deposited in the lake. The article concludes deposit happened 6-12 months after death!

A) That could mean a long transportation time from one battlefield far away and then home to Denmark?
In this case it is not a "sacrifice" or "desecration", but a mass burial where bones are "brought" home (which is more practical than trying to transport several hundred rotting bodies back home over large distances), so they will not rest abroad.

B) Or if it was an invading army, that local people waited with the deposit according to season (calendrical importance to conduct the ritual or just practically?).

The human remains are extraordinarily well preserved. Photo: Ejvind Hertz

Source: http://www.carlsbergfondet.dk/da/Forskningsak...e-iron-age

Plan of part of the excavation showing the dense concentration of the human remains. Graphics: Mads Kähler Holst

Source: http://www.carlsbergfondet.dk/da/Forskningsak...e-iron-age
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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Posts: 800

PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2017 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The picture of the axe in the first post is a dead link, so here is it again:

.
Source: http://videnskab.dk/kultur-samfund/nyfunden-m...-krigsskik

The axe again and a wooden club:

Source: http://hsfo.dk/storyimage/JM/20140625/ARTIKLE...p;Maxh=343

The metal front part of a spear found 2014:

Source: http://www.museumskanderborg.dk/Status_2014-2249.aspx
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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Posts: 800

PostPosted: Mon 28 May, 2018 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alken Enge list of publications are now here in overview. Also with photos.
See: http://www.alkenenge.dk/

Especially the recent article in PNAS
Direct evidence of a large Northern European Roman period martial event and post-battle corpse manipulation:
Source: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/15/1721372115
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