Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Community News Network

April 2, 2013

Bones from time of Christ reveal a brutal history

(Continued)

Arminius, the German chieftain who defeated Varus, was trained in Rome.

Ancient historians described the Germans as egalitarians who elected their leaders and followed them as long as they brought wealth and prestige. "The chieftains were all in competition," Thurston said. "If you had something, the others wanted it. The war booty was the thing, so they attacked each other."

The rules of this game were apparently unforgiving. Win, and you got the opportunity to fight again. If you lost and you were lucky, your followers simply abandoned you. But if you were not lucky, like perhaps the leader of the Alken warriors, you were hacked to bits.

"We've read about these mass sacrifices, but this is the first time anything like this has ever been found," said Thurston, an Iron Age specialist who has not participated in the Alken bog project. "Were they captives, saved for sacrifice, or did they die in battle, or were they executed? Were some sold into slavery, burned, set free? Maybe in this case everyone was simply rounded up and killed."

Thurston said archaeological sites in the region show no evidence that Germanic chieftains during the early Roman Empire were interested in holding territory or building their own empires. "There were no big houses, no big graves," she said.

So why throw away the enemy's weapons and dump the bodies in the lake? Holst said his team has counted the remains of at least 200 dead in the bog, many of them buried close to the 40 whose bodies have already been recovered and perhaps all of them soldiers. Nearby sites have yielded ceramic pots, cloven goat skulls and other civilian artifacts: "Our interpretation is that the whole valley should be seen as a sacrificial area," he said. "It is a religious place."

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014