During an excavation of a Roman-Germanic battlefield at the Harzhorn in Lower Saxony, a team of archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin made an amazing discovery.
In the Northeim district north of Göttingen near Kalefeld, the research team led by Prof. Dr. Michael Meyerdiscovered the chain mail of a Roman soldier from the Third Century AD. This discovery represents the first time such a well preserved piece of body armor was excavated on a Roman-Germanic battlefield.
Meyer, a professor of prehistoric archaeology at Freie Universität Berlin, said that this piece of equipment, worn on the body, made it possible to reconstruct an individual story in the battle, a close-up image of the war.
Found in several fragments, the chain mail is made of thousands of small chain links with a diameter of about one-quarter inch. The researchers found that the iron in the rings is largely decomposed. Roman soldiers of various ranks wore chain mail in battle, while Germanic warriors normally bypassed this protection. In Germanic burial grounds, however the remains of such laboriously produced armor has been found.
The current find was unusual, not only because of the object found, but the position in which it was found. The chain mail remnants were found directly on the edge of the battlefield where the most intense combat action most likely took place on the Harzhorn hill.