8. Bronze Age Warfare
For years, most historians have proclaimed that Stone Age warfare in Europe was predominately done by clans. The battles were small in scale and only included a handful of fighters facing each other. Large battles with massive casualties were uncommon in prehistoric Europe, especially in underdeveloped Northern Europe. A series of excavations conducted between 2009 and 2015 in Germany’s Tollense Valley has proven just the opposite.
Two huge armies battled one another on the banks of the Tollense River 3,200 years ago. The fighters were armed with spears, swords, war clubs, and arrows tipped with both bronze and flint. At the battle’s end, hundreds of fighters were dead. Many were professional warriors, and some were natives of Southern and Eastern Europe.
After an amateur archaeologist first discovered a punctured skull in 1996, professional archaeologists and scientists moved in to uncover more evidence. As it stands today, the battle, which occurred around 1250 BC, was fought between members of a widespread European warrior class. Many of the men wore gold rings, while many more took gold rings and other pieces of jewelry off slain corpses. More tantalizing, some have proposed that the battle was part of a larger war in Northern Europe between local tribesmen and southern invaders.