Archaeologists uncover skeletons, weapons from 1628 battleJuly 13th, 2010 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS
Berlin, July 13 (DPA) Two skeletons and abandoned weapons found on the outskirts of a German town give an unparalleled insight into life in 1628 during Europe’s worst conflict before the two world wars, archaeologists said Tuesday.
Tatters of clothing and old muskets with the owners’ initials still etched into the butts helped scientists identify the bodies as soldiers in the Habsburg monarchy’s army during the Thirty Years War.
The 1618-1648 conflict between Protestants and Catholics devastated central Europe and is estimated to have killed half the male population of Germany.
The two dead men appeared to have been Habsburg soldiers under the command of Albrecht von Wallenstein, a brilliant Bohemian general.
They were killed while besieging the rich Baltic coast port of Stralsund, probably during a sally by mercenaries defending the city.
Stralsund, a Unesco World Heritage site which is surrounded by water, has been attracting growing numbers of tourists because so little has changed in the hundreds of years since the Catholic siege of the Protestant city failed.
The bones were found just outside the walls in what must have been a trench along with six pikes, some featuring spiky balls on chains, and six swords, indicated that four more soldiers must have run for their lives when the mercenaries stormed the trench.
Both skeletons lay on their stomachs with leather shoes and scraps on clothing intact.
Two of the three muskets were carved with the initials “WN” and “ON”.
“It was like a snapshot of battle,” said the senior archaeologist, Marlies Konze. “It’s a sensational discovery,” added historic monuments chief Heiko Schaefer, saying it gave a fresh picture of a soldier’s typical armaments at the time.
The archaeologists have yet to lift the bones from the soil, because they must record the find in detail. Laboratory study of the bones to discover where the men came from will come later.
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Tags: albrecht von wallenstein, archaeologists, armaments, baltic coast, dead men, german town, habsburg monarchy, laboratory study, leather shoes, male population, old muskets, picture of a soldier, population of germany, protestants and catholics, sensational discovery, unesco world heritage, unesco world heritage site, unparalleled insight, wn, world heritage site