Photos: Discoveries from a Bronze Age Battlefield

Tollense Valley

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: by Fred Ruchhöft)

In northeastern Germany, archaeologists have discovered a battlefield, more than 3,000 years old, along the banks of the Tollense Valley, shown here from the north. Important locations of the Bronze Age battlefield site are marked. [Read more about the old battlefield discoveries]

Battle scars

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Detlef Jantzen)

In 1996, an amateur archaeologist named Roland Borgwardt found several human bones at the bank of Tollense River. Among his finds was this skull with a clear injury. More extensive excavations began in 2007. Since then, archaeologists have discovered 140 human skeletons.

Diving for bones

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Thomas Terberger)

Archaeologists have found the remains of combat on the banks of the river. But valuable information about the extent of the battlefield also came from surveys by research divers. Shown here is chief diver Joachim Krueger after finding a long bone in the river.

Mass grave

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Stefan Sauer)

A very dense concentration of human bones was found at a site known as Weltzin 20, close to the Tollense River.

Shifting skeletons

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Stefan Sauer)

After decomposition, the bones were somewhat jumbled by the movement of the river.


bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Volker Minkus)

This person was shot with an arrow in the back of the head and archaeologists think he probably died while he tried to escape across the river.

Deeply buried treasure

bronze age battlefield

(Image credit: Joachim Krüger)

At some of the battlefield locations, bones and other valuables are buried deep underground. At one such site, archaeologists found two tin rings and small bronze spirals more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) beneath river sediments. These items were probably once attached to the personal equipment of a slain warrior. [Read more about the old battlefield discoveries]

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.