Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mass Grave Sheds Light on Europe's Bloody History
Europe's soil is blood-soaked from centuries of fighting but rarely yields mass graves from battles that took place before the two world wars. One such grave has now been found near Berlin with over 100 soldiers who died in the 1636 Battle of Wittstock. Archaeologists say they can learn much from the skeletons which show terrible wounds.
. . .
Historians and archaeologists called to examine the neat rows of skeletons quickly concluded that they were men who died in the Battle of Wittstock on October 4, 1636, when a Protestant army of 16,000 Swedes beat a force of 22,000 from the Catholic alliance of the Holy Roman empire and Saxony. Some 6,000 men died in the fighting.

Archaeologists are now excavating the site and have started to examine the skeletons, many of which show the dreadful battlefield wounds that killed them - bones smashed by heavy blades, skulls torn open by musket balls.

I linked to a slide show on this a while back. This has more detail.