Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

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
CNHI Special Projects
  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks