archaeology Iron age warriors in Danish bog (ALKEN ENGE)


Mi Sergeant
MI.Net Member
Mar 17, 2020
A short version of the (new) Danish archaeological report on the ALKEN ENGE finds.

Just a few points taken from:

“De draebte krigere I Alken Enge” by Mette Loevschal.

In the first century AD, 80+ people, mostly men and boys were cut down, left on some battlefield for a year, and then deposited in the shallow water of the “Alken Enge” – bog in Jutland, Denmark.

Details of these finds, close in location to the “Illerup Aadal” finds, have been on the internet for some years. The report is the first attempt to put all the finds in a context. Unfortunately the report does not really answer Who, Where or Why.

The men were locals, so no indication that Varus, the romans or Kalkriese was involved. Although the report mentions that the Varus-disaster probably changed the whole power structure in northern Europe at the time.

Most men seem to have been cut down or stabbed (multiple times), and some injuries can clearly be identified as “from behind” suggesting that we are looking at the loosing part of a battle. Some weapons have been found – spears, wooden-clubs, axes, swords and a single arrow. It seems as if most of the losers were hit with sharp weapons. This could mean that the losers were local club-wielding farmers/militia killed by a professional or semi-professional army. Lake deposits show, that the area around the lake/bog fell out of use for the next century or so after the deposit.

Found at the site, was four pelvises mounted on a stick. This could be an indication that the deposits were not local heroes celebrated in death, by their mourning relatives, but hated enemies whose corpses were paraded around “with a stick up their bum”.

Why did the victors return to the area after a year and arranged this sacrifice? Well as most wars results from either religion or politics (or both), one theory could be that the victor (apart from the sacrifice to his war-god) would like to show the local population who had the upper hand.

The Alken-area could be on the border between two powerfull chiefs or a village did not pay its taxes in time. The victor might have massacred all males, and brought the rest of the population back as slaves. Looking at the Middle East today, I would say that not much have changed in 2000 years….
And of course - we need a photo.

Photo of Pelvises on a stick

- taken from this site (