March 29, 2023

Archaeologists find a wooden stake used for the defense of the Roman army

In the work dealing with the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar (100–44 BC), a pre-imperial ruler of Rome, gives a first-person account of the campaigns he participated in, including descriptions of the use of artefacts and strategies that were adopted into his undertaking. .

Despite being considered a possible means of elevating one’s physiognomy, the accounts allowed a glimpse of how the Romans fought at the time. And thanks to the research work of a team of researchers from Goethe University, one of the artifacts described by Julius Caesar has been found by archaeologists.

(Source: Getty Images/Reproduction)(Source: Getty Images/Reproduction)

path of discovery

In 2016, when they spotted differences in the ground pattern of an area in Bad Ems, Germany, the hypothesis that some kind of work had been done in the surrounding area was strengthened. To investigate this possibility, the researchers devoted themselves to the analysis of this area (which had already been excavated since the end of the 19th century), located between the cities of Bonn and Mainz.

From there, excavations revealed the existence of a Roman camp spanning 8 hectares, a structure that temporarily housed around 3,000 Roman soldiers.

Two kilometers further, another smaller camp was found, with a capacity of 40 soldiers. In addition, another element that helped to make the discovery more accurate was the presence of a coin dated to the year 43 AD.

(Source: Frederic Auth/University of Goethe/Reproduction)(Source: Frederic Auth/University of Goethe/Reproduction)

Search for protection

And exactly in the same area, on the borders of Ancient Rome, there was also an intact wooden stake near a ditch, an element that was in reports and that had not been found until then. Surprisingly, the two objects were identified on the penultimate day of the excavations.

In general, the wooden stakes used by the Roman soldiers were similar in application to today’s wire fences, so that these defensive structures acted as a death trap for anyone who fell into the ditch hidden by branches, thus ensuring the safety of the fort.

The existence of a silver deposit in the area could even be the reason behind the location of these facilities, which were burned on purpose, as evidenced by the traces they left behind. However, to prove this hypothesis, further investigations are needed.

(Source: Getty Images/Reproduction)(Source: Getty Images/Reproduction)

Cases involved in discovery

Despite efforts made to explore a nearby silver mine, protecting the area from possible attacks by building a fort and using wooden stakes, the Romans were unable to discover the full potential of the reserve.

Tacitus, a Roman historian, in his writings, pointed in the same direction, reporting that the exploration attempt had failed in AD 47, due to poor returns. However, about 200 tons of silver were found many centuries later, showing that the Romans were right in their initial assumptions.

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