viernes, 28 de marzo de 2014

Rural life at the time of a Danish massacre (Danmark)

Archaeologists from Moesgård Museum in Denmark have carried out ​​extensive excavations on the farmstead of Bendixminde at Snærild west of Odder. Now with the fieldwork at an end, Rasmus Birch Iversen and Peter Lundby, who jointly directed the excavations, can examine the results and place the site into context.
The team unearthed a number of farmsteads and ancillary buildings dating to the Iron Age between 200 BC to the beginning of the 300′s AD, which gave an insight into rural life in this area. Given the gruesome events which happened only 20km from the farm, when 100s of men were sacrificed at a place called Alken Enge, there is also the possibility to build a bigger picture of life at this particular period in time.

30 generations of farmers

The archaeologists found evidence for metal working and extraction of bog iron ore, collected from the wetlands to the south.
“There are also traces of iron furnaces for making tools and weapons,” explained Iversen, and he added that “This is the first large Iron Age settlement excavated in the Odder area”.
“The postholes from longhouses and other farm buildings represent where extended families would have lived with their animals for perhaps 30 generations, given the longevity of the settlement.”
The archaeologists were able to show how the farmsteads were rebuilt three times, one on top of the other.

Magic failed

One discovery allowed a small insight into the family life of an Iron Age farmer: a rare clay child’s rattle. Thousands of potsherds from coarse household to finer decorated ceramics were also recovered from rubbish pits, providing a remarkable chronology over a 500 year period.
The team also found tiny clay pots that had been buried at the house entrance post dating to the first century AD. The intention would have been to protect the new house and its occupants from harm. However, it seems that these magic charms failed as this particular farmstead along with its neighbours were burnt to the ground. This evidence of burning in a location which displayed a normally peaceful way of life is not the only link with possible conflict. The settlement area is only 20km from the scene of Alken Enge where the sacrificed remains of hundreds of men and their weapons were thrown into the bog around the same time as the farm buildings were burnt in first century AD. Sites in the Illerup Valley were also erecting defences, so it is possible the period was one of great uncertainty for the farmers of Bendixminde and sporadic warfare marred their otherwise peaceful existence.

Source: Past Horizons:

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