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The Quest for the lost Roman Legions

Discovering the Varus Battlefield (9 AD)
Tony Clunn

Exactly 2000 years ago, Germanic tribes led by Arminius (‘Herman’) ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions led by Publius Quintilius Varius. By the time the fighting was over, some 25,000 men, women, and children were dead and the course of European history had been forever altered.

The battle in the Teutoburger Forest (‘Varusschlacht’) abruptly ended the period of triumphant and exuberant Roman expansion. The river Rhine became the boundary of the Roman Empire.
For almost 2000 years, the site of this famous battle was unidentified. Even the Dutch city of Varsseveld was mentioned, as being a corruption of ‘Varusveld’. Generally it was assumed that the battle did take place somewhere in today's Teutoburg Forest, south of the city of Osnabrück. For centuries, there was a strong debate about the exact site. Until in 1987, the British amateur archaeologist major Tony Clunn found a concentration of 103 Roman coins, all dated before 9. A.D, in the environments of Kalkriese hill north of Osnabrück. This was the beginning of his success. Further excavations soon turned up catapult projectiles and more scraps of weapons and equipments, the helmet mask of a Roman officer and bones of humans and mammals. Thanks to the detective work of major Clunn, Kalkriese is now perceived to be the actual site of the battle. Today, the location has been transformed into a museum and archaeological park.
Major Clunn will tell his exciting detective story about the quest of one of the most famous battlefields of world history.

Tony Clunn is a retired British Army Major and an amateur archaeologist. In the 1980s, he was posted as an officer in the British Royal Army Medical Corps near Osnabrück. He discovered the site of the Varusschlacht in 1987 and has been working with the German archaeological authorities since that time. There has been some 22 years of intensive excavations completed so far and work is planned to continue for the next ten years at least. He still continues to uncover marvellous and astounding treasures from this site almost on a weekly basis. In 2005, he published his book The Quest for the Lost Roman Legions. Discovering The Varus Battlefield.

Organised in co-operation with the Center for Classical studies of the University of Groningen

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