Category Archives: GERMANY

Ancient Shipwreck is Discovered 1,200 Years After Sinking in the Holy Land

Ancient Shipwreck is Discovered 1,200 Years After Sinking in the Holy Land

Sunken remains from a Royal Navy warship have been seen for the first time in over a century after divers located the wreck from World War One.

Back in April 1917, HMS Jason struck a German mine off the Scottish island of Coll and as a result, it sank and killed 25 men.

The exact location of the wreck was listed for decades on nautical charts, until 2011 when a seabed survey found no trace of her where she was supposed to be, meaning it was struck from the records.

Now, after five years of research, the remains have been found. Project leader Kevin Heath said: “It’s been known about in diving circles and shipwreck circles in Scotland for a long time.

“It was one of those mysteries – it was out there, people had looked and couldn’t find it, so I thought I’d take it upon myself to have a look.”

He used a side scan sonar to search the seabed when a possible wreck was revealed 600 meters from where Jason was supposed to be lying next to a large rock.

Later on her identity was confirmed on April 12 by a SULA Diving crew, sailing aboard MV Clasina.

Lieutenant Jen Smith of the Royal Navy, who was part of the dive team, said it was an “incredibly moving” discovery. “There was excitement at finding the wreck, but that’s quickly tempered by the fact that it’s a war grave – 25 men died here,” she said.

HMS Jason sunk in 1917 with 25 men killed

“It’s incredibly moving to think that no one has seen the ship since her stern disappeared 105 years ago. “Families knew the fate of the ship, but now they will know where she is and that can bring closure.”

Now the wreck lies at a depth of 93m and has several identifying features, including a pointed stern, a distinctive propeller, two 4.7in guns and crockery.

There is also evidence of the fateful moment that doomed the ship. “It’s been there since World War One so it’s very broken down,” said Mr. Heath.

“But it’s upright, with a slight list to port, the aft gun is there, then all of the machinery is exposed, then there’s the bridge, then there’s a forward gun.

“And just at the forward gun there is a break where the wreckage is missing and that’s where she hit the mine.”

Steps will now be taken to ensure the Jason is protected under law as an official war grave, allowing divers to visit but not touch the wreck.

Lt Smith said: “Documenting the ship, showing people what she’s like today is important to me. Naval war graves are often forgotten, as it’s hard for people to remember what you can’t see.

“Whilst land battlefields and cemeteries such as those in Normandy or the Somme can be visited by anyone, only a few of us can visit a shipwreck.

“So the more we can show and explain what happened to her and her sailors, the better. It’s important to make sure those who served are not forgotten.”

HMS Jason was built as a torpedo gunboat in 1892 but was later converted into a minesweeper by 1909, continuing her duties throughout the First World War.

Sadly she sank in little more than five minutes – enough time for nearly 80 survivors to escape, before being rescued by HMS Circe.

Steve Mortimer, who led the dive group, said: “It was a privilege to help identify the remains of this vessel. “25 families can now take comfort that the location of their relative’s ship is precisely known. We think that’s important.”

Mr. Heath and his fellow historian Wendy Sadler have documented the story of the Jason and its crew at

Wooden Roman Defenses Uncovered in Germany

Wooden Roman Defenses Uncovered in Germany

Archaeologists have discovered wooden defenses surrounding an ancient Roman military base for the first time in Bad Ems, western Germany.

The fence, which is topped with sharpened wooden stakes similar to barbed wire, is the type of fortification mentioned in ancient writings, including by Caesar, but no surviving examples had previously been discovered.

The ancient Romans erected a fence topped with these wooden spikes in a effort to defend a silver mining operation that ultimately ran dry

The spikes were mounted in a v shape onto a central post and were preserved in the water-logged soil of Blöskopf hill. Enemies who fell into the defensive ditch would come face to face with the business ends of this razor-sharp structure.

The work of the Frankfurt archaeologists and Dr. Peter Henrich of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate uncovered two previously unknown military camps in the vicinity of Bad Ems, situated on both sides of the Emsbach valley.

The excavations were triggered by observations made by a hunter who, from his raised hide, spotted color differences in the grain field, indicating the existence of sub-surface structures. 

Drone photography and geomagnetic scans confirmed the presence of large double ditches beneath the grain, which formed the defensive perimeter of a Roman camp.

It would have been a massive Roman camp: eight hectares with 40 wooden towers — much larger than the known Bad Ems camp. It was supposed to be permanent, but it was never finished. Only a warehouse was built in the end, and the camp was burned down a few years later.

A second, much smaller camp, was unearthed a mile away. The stake structure was part of the defenses of this second camp.

The ancient Romans erected a fence topped with these wooden spikes in an effort to defend a silver mining operation that ultimately ran dry. 

It appears that the ancient Romans were tunneling into the earth in search of silver deposits. Archaeologists initially thought that fire remains and melted slag proved that the Romans had established smelting works to process silver ore.

The Roman governor Curtius Rufus attempted to mine silver in the region in the year 47 A.D., but his efforts were unsuccessful, according to the writings of the ancient historian Tacitus.

The Romans had built a heavily fortified base with a military presence because they anticipated untold riches; this accounts for the defenses that resemble barbed wire and were intended to thwart sudden raids.

Unfortunately for them, it would take millennia for archaeological excavations in 1897 to find a rich vein of the precious metal in the region.

If the Romans had only kept digging, they could have kept mining for two centuries because there was enough silver there. It appears that the ancient fire remnants came from a watch tower rather than a successful smelting operation.

Excavations and research are set to continue, led by Markus Scholz, a professor of archaeology and ancient Roman history at Goethe University; archaeologist Daniel Burger-Völlmecke; and Peter Henrich of Rhineland-General Palatinate’s Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

The ancient wooden spikes are now at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz.

Frederick Auth, who has been in charge of the excavations since 2019, won first place for his description of the history of the site at the 2022 Wiesbaden Science Slam. These futile ancient efforts make for a fascinating story.

German archaeologists unearthed 1,900-year-old Roman village.

German archaeologists unearthed 1,900-year-old Roman village.

The remains of a 1,900-year-old Roman fort that once quartered 500 troops in what is today Germany were discovered by archeologists.

The public watches as students dig for artifacts within the remains of a 1,900-year-old Roman fort that once quartered 500 troops in what is today Gernsheim in Germany.

The fort was found in the town of Gernsheim, which sits along the Rhine River in the German state of Hesse.

Researchers knew the area was the site of a village during the first to third centuries, but otherwise, the region’s history during the Roman occupation is largely unknown, dig leader Thomas Maurer, an archaeologist at the University of Frankfurt said in a statement.

“It was assumed that this settlement had to have been based on a fort since it was customary for the families of the soldiers to live outside the fort in a village-like settlement,” Maurer said. Until now, however, no one had found that fort. 

Military rediscovery

During an educational dig in the area, Maurer and his colleagues uncovered postholes that once held the foundations of a wooden tower, as well as two V-shaped ditches, which were a common feature of Roman forts of the era.

A unit of 500 soldiers, known as a “cohort,” was stationed at the fort between about A.D. 70 and A.D.120.Fortunately for modern-day archaeologists, the last Romans to leave the fort destroyed the place on the way out, filling in the ditches with rubbish.

This rubbish included “box after box” of ceramic shards, which can be dated to pinpoint the time of the abandonment of the fort, said Hans-Markus von Kaenel, a professor at the Goethe University Institute of Archaeology.”We really hit the jackpot with this excavation campaign,” von Kaenel said in the statement.

Roman history

Researchers have been able to piece together a broad history of the Gernsheim region from a scattering of archaeological finds there.

A brick fragment stamped with the sign of the 22nd Roman Legion, an elite unite from the late first century.

The Romans built the newly discovered fort around A.D. 70 as a jumping-off point for control of areas east of the Rhine, according to von Kaenel and his colleagues.

The area was an important transportation hub, with roads branching off to access the borders of the Roman Empire. There may have also been a harbor on the Rhine at the time, though that has yet to be verified, Maurer said.

The modern expansion of the town paved over many suspected Roman sites, but Maurer, von Kaenel, and their colleagues managed to secure permission for a dig on a vacant double lot near where Roman-era finds were discovered in the 1970s and 1980s. This lot turned out to hold the remains of the long-lost fort.

A brick fragment found at the site identifies the troops quartered at the fort as members of the 22nd Legion, an elite unit from the late first century.

Researchers also found real treasures such as rare garment clasps, several pearls, parts of a board game (dice, playing pieces) and a hairpin made from bone and crowned with a female bust,” Maurer said in the press release

Archaeologist Professor Thomas Maurer and his team of students found some interesting artifacts, including gaming pieces.

A 300,000-Year-Old “Killing Stick” Provides New Information on Hunting Evolution

A 300,000-Year-Old “Killing Stick” Provides New Information on Hunting Evolution

The wooden throwing stick, used by the extinct human subspecies Homo Heidelbergensis, was capable of killing waterbirds and horses during the Ice Age.

Experiments show the 25-inch-long throwing sticks, carved from spruce wood, could reach maximum speeds of 98 feet (30 meters) per second.  German researchers have said the weapon was thrown like a boomerang, with one sharp side and one flat side, and spun powerfully around a center of gravity.

But when in flight, the team says the throwing stick, also referred to as ‘rabbit sticks’ or ‘killing sticks’, did not return to the thrower.

Picture of throwing stick from Schöningen, Lower Saxony, Germany, with four views and engravings.

Instead the rotation helped to maintain a straight, accurate trajectory which helped to increase the likeliness of striking prey animals.

‘They are effective weapons over different distances, among other things when hunting water birds,’ said Dr. Jordi Serangeli, professor at the Institute for Prehistory, Early History and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

‘Bones of swans and ducks are well documented from the find layer.

‘In addition, it is likely that larger mammals, such as horses that were often hunted on the shores of Lake Schöningen, were startled and driven in a certain direction with the throwing stick.’

Hunters on the Schöningen lakeshore likely used the throwing stick to hunt waterbirds.

Researchers uncovered the weapon during an archaeological excavation at the Schöningen mine in Lower Saxony, northern Germany.

‘Schöningen has yielded by far the largest and most important record of wooden tools and hunting equipment from the Paleolithic,’ said Professor Nicholas Conard, founding director of the Institute of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tübingen.

Detailed analysis by the researchers showed how the maker of this type of throwing stick used stone tools to cut the branches flush and then to smooth the surface.

The new throwing stick in situ at the time of discovery. The maker of the throwing stick used stone tools to cut the branches flush and then to smooth the surface of the artifact

The stick, carved from spruce wood, is around 25 inches (64.5cm) long, just over 1 inch (2.9cm) in diameter, and weighs 264 grams. The sticks also had fractures and damage consistent with that found on similar experimental examples.

For the first time researchers say the study provides clear evidence of the function of such a weapon. Late Lower Palaeolithic hominins in Northern Europe were ‘highly effective hunters’ with a wide array of wooden weapons that are rarely preserved, they say.

‘300,000 years ago, hunters had used different high-quality weapons such as throwing sticks, javelins and thrust lances in combination,’ said Professor Conard.

Overview of the excavation at Schöningen. Researchers attribute the discovery to the ‘outstanding’ preservation of wooden artifacts in the water-saturated lakeside sediments in Schöningen

‘The chances of finding Paleolithic artifacts made of wood are normally zero.

‘Only thanks to the fabulously good conservation conditions in water-saturated lakeside sediments in Schöningen can we document the evolution of hunting and the varied use of wooden tools.’

The discovery has been detailed further in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

When Did Human Ancestors First Emerge?

The timeline of human evolution can be traced back millions of years. Experts estimate that the family tree goes as such:

• 55 million years ago – First primitive primates evolve

• 15 million years ago – Hominidae (great apes) evolve from the ancestors of the gibbon.

• 7 million years ago – First gorillas evolve. Later, chimp and human lineages diverge.

• 5.5 million years ago – Ardipithecus, early ‘proto-human’ shares traits with chimps and gorillas.

• 4 million years ago – Ape like early humans, the Australopithecines appeared. They had brains no larger than a chimpanzee’s but other more human-like features.

• 3.9-2.9 million years ago – Australopithecus afarensis lived in Africa.

• 2.7 million years ago – Paranthropus, lived in woods and had massive jaws for chewing.

• 2.6 million years ago – Hand axes become the first major technological innovation.

• 2.3 million years ago – Homo habilis first thought to have appeared in Africa.

Oldest Ever Neanderthal Remains Found, Dating Back 116,000 Years!

Oldest Ever Neanderthal Remains Found, Dating Back 116,000 Years!

In 2008 a team of archaeological excavators digging in the Stajnia Cave near Mirów in Poland, unearthed deeply-ancient tools among the remains of Neanderthal hunters. This discovery represented the first Neanderthal remains ever discovered in Poland.

However, a recent shift in the scientific molecular clock indicates that these discoveries are not “55,000 years old,” as was believed, but they are in fact “the oldest remains of Neanderthals in Central Europe,” possibly dating back as far as 116,000 years.

Aerial view of Stajnia Cave in Poland, where the Neanderthal remains were originally discovered.

Doubling Dates in a Heartbeat

When conducting the fieldwork directed by Mikolaj Urbanowski, the archaeologists at Stajnia Cave located north of the Carpathians in Poland discovered a Neanderthal molar in 2007.

At the time, scientists extracted its mitochondrial DNA and dated it to somewhere between 42 and 52 thousand years old. Now, a new study published in the journal Nature demonstrates how this ancient tooth is much older, twice as old in fact.

The new research was conducted by a international team of scientists from the University of Wrocław, the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Geological Institute , who together analyzed the Neanderthal DNA gathered from the Stajnia Cave tooth sample, comparing it with DNA samples found in other caves, such as Scladina Cave in Belgium and Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave in Germany.

The Stajnia Cave DNA was found to be more closely related to the North Caucasus population than with that of Western Europe, which according to the researchers was hard evidence of the “mobility of Neanderthals.”

Furthermore, this new DNA research showed that the Stajnia Cave molar was far older than other Central European Neanderthal remains, and having been recovered in a “Micoquian context” it has been re-dated to “approximately 80,000 – 116,000 years old.” Yup, you read that right. These remains could possibly be “116 thousand years old,” which makes it the oldest Neanderthal remains ever discovered in Central Europe.

Map showing the location of Micoquian (red circles) sites in Europe and indicating specifically the location of the Stajnia Cave in Poland.

Descending Ice Giants: Migration Caused by Climate Change

The initial dates given to the Neanderthal molar, and associated remains and tool, was “approximately 52-42 thousand years ago,” but this new study has now proposed that they date back to around 116 thousand years ago.

At this time, according to an article on PHYS, the climate changed abruptly and caused the Central-Eastern European environment to shift from forested, to open steppe and taiga habitat. These changes also caused the southward dispersal of Arctic wooly mammoths and wooly rhinos .

During this time of great ecological shifts, known to geologists as the “Micoquian,” bifacial stone tools emerged in Central-Eastern Europe across eastern France, Poland and the Caucasus.

These tools were slowly developed until the demise of the Neanderthals. Professor Mateja Hajdinjak, a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and co-author of the paper published in Nature, said the team used “the molecular genetic clock” to place the fossilized tooth at the beginning of the Last Glacial , when the site could have been “a logistical location settled during forays into the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland.”

3D digital model of the Neanderthal molar found at Stajnia Cave in Poland.

A Thrilling Breakthrough: The Oldest Neanderthal Remains in Central Europe

Scientists generally tend to be ultra-careful when describing any emotional responses to big discoveries, and rightfully so, for there should be no room for such subjective vagaries in logical processes.

But on this occasion, Wioletta Nowaczewska of Wroclaw University, a co-author of the paper, said the team were “thrilled” when the results of their  genetic analysis  revealed the tooth was “at least 80,000 years old” and maybe even 116,000 years old.

Exemplifying how rare this Neanderthal molar discovered in Poland is within a European context, a July 2016 paper published in Science Daily by a team of scientists from the University of Cologne explains that in Germany there are only “four known settlement sites for the time period between 110,000 to 70,000 years ago.”

Meanwhile, there are “ninety-four” sites dated between 70,000 to 43,000 years ago, with most dating to the later date around the time the Neanderthals disappeared.

Stone tools found at Stajnia Cave in Poland.

The Molecular Clock and Archaeological Paradigm Shifts

Precisely why the Neanderthal species died out is still unclear and it continues to be a hot topic for debate within the scientific community who are currently split between several contrasting models demonstrating how their extinction came about.

In the last decade several papers from leading institutions have claimed: low genetic diversity , decreases in fertility , the rise of Homo sapiens and the current favorite is climate change. All of these, and more, have all been blamed for having bought about the demise of the Neanderthals.

At a molecular level, the tools and human remains discovered in Stajnia Cave are very similar to those discovered at sites in Germany, Crimea, Northern Caucasus and Altai.

This is presented in the new study as further evidence of “increasing mobility” among Neanderthal groups who hunted across the Northern and Eastern European plains, stalking slow moving “cold adapted migratory animals,” according to the scientists.

Thanks to the shift in the molecular clock, this increased mobility has now been identified as having occurred around 100,000 years ago, which is double the previously accepted dates of occupation at Stajnia Cave. What else could the molecular clock technique reveal about our ancient origins?

Ancient Shoe Discovery Shows High Fashion Sense of Roman Footwear

Ancient Shoe Discovery Shows High Fashion Sense of Roman Footwear

Italians are generally renowned as excellent shoemakers throughout the world. Their products are usually placed in a more luxurious category as their designer shoes tend to cost a bit more an average person can afford.

However, their predecessors on the Italian Peninsula ― the Romans ― were known as gifted shoemakers as well, apart from being ingenious engineers, architects, and sculptors.

Moreover, Roman footwear wasn’t only functional but was fashionable in a sense to which we today can relate.

Roman footwear on display at Saalburg museum.

A recent discovery from an archaeological locality of Saalburg, Germany, confirms that the Romans indeed neatly crafted women’s shoes, which, apart from providing protection and warmth, were also very stylish and presented a status symbol among citizens.

The discovery at Saalburg is just one among many, for this site used to be a significant Roman border outpost on the very frontier of the Empire. Built around 90 AD, it also served as a settlement that at its height reached around 2,000 inhabitants who lived both within the fort’s walls and in the village which grew around it. The fort remained active until 260 AD.

Statue of Antoninus Pius at the entrance of Saalburg.

Since 2005, Saalburg has been put under UNESCO’s protection as a World Heritage Site and the fortress has been reconstructed using known data about its prior shape and form.

As for the shoe, it was found in what used to be a well within the ancient settlement. Today the 2,000-year-old piece of footwear stands as part of a regular exhibition in the Saalburg museum.

Based on the standard-issue Roman military sandal/boot, called the caligae, the Saalburg shoe has a heavy sole, implying it was made for outdoor use, as opposed to the more lightly-soled indoor slippers which were also known to be popular among the wealthier inhabitants of the Roman Empire.

Soles of of military boots – caligulae.

The design is similar ― apart from the sole, the Saalburg shoe includes holes for laces, which were predominately used by women. As is typical for most Roman footwear, it has a leather upper and a hobnailed sole, providing both comfort and functionality to the wearer.

The embroidery is crafted in great detail, once again implying this was most probably a shoe belonging to a wealthy person. Patterns including triangles and circles add to the beauty of this shoe from another time, displaying its maker’s skill, but also its owner’s social status, as merchandise of this standard certainly came in a steeper price range.

Roman shoes, Saalburgmuseum, Saalburg Roman Fort, Limes Germanicus.

According to Rome Across Europe, a blog dedicated to Roman culture, the ancient civilization of Julius Caesar, Cicero and many others actually introduced the Mediterranean world with the first entire-foot-encasing shoe.

“Many had large open-work areas made by cutting or punching circles, triangles, squares, ovals, etc. in rows or grid-like patterns. Others were more enclosed, having only holes for the laces. Some very dainty women’s and children’s shoes still had thick nailed soles.”

Roman caligae from re-enactment show Legio XV.

Pioneers in their own right, Roman shoemakers were known as sutors and their craft was highly praised throughout ancient Europe and beyond. The style obviously traveled together with conquest, as this example was discovered in the very outskirts of the Empire.

In an age of manufacture, a gifted sutor could easily earn the respect of Roman patricians ― the ruling elite ―enabling them to rise in the social hierarchy.

Statue of Pliny the Elder on the facade of Cathedral of S. Maria Maggiore in Como.

Apparently, their meddling with other trades gave birth to an ancient Roman expression, attributed to Pliny the Elder ― “Sutor, ne ultra crepidam,” meaning “Shoemaker, not beyond the shoe.”

The expression originated from an anecdote in which a shoemaker complains to the painter, Apelles of Kos, by pointing out that his rendition of a shoe on one of his paintings wasn’t correct. Apelles changed this detail, but in return received a number of other objections by the shoemaker, concerning things that weren’t in his area of expertise.

Caliga, Roman soldier’s sandal from the 1st Century AD, Landesmuseum, Mainz.

Thus came the saying by which everyone should stick to what they know, and remain restrained in passing judgment beyond their profession.

Incredible amount of WWII battlefield relics still being found on the Eastern Front

Incredible amount of WWII battlefield relics still being found on the Eastern Front

The war on the Eastern Front, known to Russians as the “Great Patriotic War”, was the scene of the largest military confrontation in history.

Over the course of four years, more than 400 Red Army and German divisions clashed in a series of operations along a front that extended more than 1,000 miles.

Some 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians and nearly 4 million German troops lost their lives along the Eastern Front during those years of brutality.

The warfare there was total and ferocious, encompassing the largest armored clash in history (Battle of Kursk) and the most costly siege on a modern city (nearly 900 days in Leningrad), as well as scorched earth policies, utter devastation of thousands of villages, mass deportations, mass executions, and countless atrocities attributed to both sides.

The war was fought between Nazi Germany, its allies and Finland, against the Soviet Union.The conflict began on 22 June 1941 with the Operation Barbarossa offensive, whenAxis forces crossed the borders described in the German–Soviet Nonaggression Pact, thereby invading the Soviet Union.

The war ended on 9 May 1945, when Germany’s armed forces surrendered unconditionally following the Battle of Berlin (also known as the Berlin Offensive), a strategic operation executed by the Red Army.

The states that provided forces and other resources for the German war effort included the Axis Powers – primarily Romania, Hungary, Italy, pro-Nazi Slovakia, and Croatia.

The anti-Soviet Finland, which had fought the Winter War against the Soviet Union, also joined the offensive. The Wehrmacht forces were also assisted by anti-Communist partisans in places like Western Ukraine, the Baltic states, and later by Crimean Tatars.

Among the most prominent volunteer army formations was the Spanish Blue Division, sent by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco to keep his ties to the Axis intact.

The Eastern Front was a gigantic battlefield and comes as no surprise as to the amount of relics lost and buried on this battlefield. The images below are just a ‘few’ from the Facebook page The Ghosts of the Eastern Front.

There is always a debate to the digging of battlefields and that will continue forever. If you are a collector then you can buy relics from their website.

The Soviet Union offered support to the partisans in many Wehrmacht-occupied countries in Central Europe, notably those in Slovakia, Poland and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In addition, the Polish Armed Forces in the East, particularly the First and Second Polish armies, were armed and trained, and would eventually fight alongside the Red Army.

TheFree French forces also contributed to the Red Army by the formation of the GC3 (Groupe de Chasse 3 or 3rd Fighter Group) unit to fulfill the commitment of Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French, who thought that it was important for French servicemen to serve on all fronts.

British and Commonwealth forces contributed directly to the fighting on the Eastern Front through their service in the Arctic convoys and training Red Air Force pilots, as well as in the provision of early material and intelligence support.

The later massive material support of the Lend-Lease agreement by the United States and Canada played a significant part particularly in the logistics of the war. Among other goods, Lend-Lease supplied.

Nazi ‘Enigma’ machine found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Nazi ‘Enigma’ machine found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Nazis may have tossed this code-making machine overboard during WWII.

Divers trying to remove old fishing nets from the Baltic sea have accidentally stumbled on a Nazi code-making machine.  

The Enigma machine, as it’s called, looks a bit like a typewriter. In fact, the diver who found the device on the ocean floor initially thought that’s what the artifact was, according to AFP.

But the diving team, on assignment for the conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), quickly realized that they had something much stranger. 

During World War II, Enigma machines were used to encode German military messages, in hopes of preventing Allied powers from learning about troop movements and other plans. The devices consisted of a keyboard and a series of rotors that did the encoding.

The rotors substituted different letters for the ones typed in; different Enigma machines used between three and eight rotors, which moved independently after each keystroke so that the same initial letter typed into the machine would appear as multiple different letters in the final code. 

While searching for abandoned fishing nets, German divers discovered this Enigma machine in the Baltic Sea.

To decode the message at the other end, an operator just needed to know the starting position of the rotors and the routers between them. Once the encoded message was entered into an Enigma machine with the right configuration, the machine would spit out the original text. 

Cracking the Enigma code was an enormous part of the Allied war effort. Polish mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki made the first attempts in 1939 and were able to recreate a mock-up of the Enigma machine, explain its basic functioning and decode many messages.

They then handed this information over to British intelligence, according to the BBC, because the Germans were changing the codes daily, making it more difficult for the Polish team to decipher their messages.

British mathematician Alan Turing was crucial to the effort to decode the German Navy’s Enigma messages, which were more complex, according to the Imperial War Museums. Cracking those codes was crucial for saving Allied ships from German U-boats, the submarines that sank more than 5,000 ships during World War I and more than 2,700 during World War II. 

The Enigma machine found by the WWF diving crew was at the bottom of the Bay of Gelting in northeast Germany. It had three rotors, making it the type used on warships, not U-boats.

That suggests that the machine may have been tossed overboard in the final days of World War II, in an attempt to keep the technology out of enemy hands, historian Jann Witt of the German Naval Association told the DPA news agency.

The divers turned the machine over to the archaeology museum of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where archaeologists are restoring it.

That project should take about a year, according to Ulf Ickerodt, head of the state archaeological office. The Enigma machine will then go on display at the museum. 

Archaeologists Just Unearthed 10,500-Year-Old Human Remains In A German Bog

Archaeologists Just Unearthed 10,500-Year-Old Human Remains In A German Bog

Archaeologists in northern Germany have unearthed 10,000-year-old cremated bones at a Stone Age lakeside campsite that was used for spearing fish and roasting hazelnuts.

Archaeologists think this was a temporary campsite on the shore of an ancient lake that has now silted up; it was used for roasting hazelnuts and for spearing fish, and the bones were probably from someone who died nearby.

Archaeologists in northern Germany have unearthed 10,000-year-old cremated bones at a Stone Age lakeside campsite that was once used for spearing fish and roasting hazelnuts, major food sources for groups of hunter-gatherers at that time.

The site is the earliest known burial in northern Germany, and the discovery marks the first time human remains have been found at Duvensee bog in the Schleswig-Holstein region, where dozens of campsites from the Mesolithic era or Middle Stone Age (roughly between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago) have been found.

Hazelnuts were a big attraction in the area because Mesolithic people could gather and roast them, Harald Lübke, an archaeologist at the Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, an agency of the Schleswig-Holstein State Museums Foundation.

The campsites changed over time, the research shows. “In the beginning, we have only small hazelnut roasting hearths, and in the later sites, they become much bigger” — possibly a consequence of hazel trees becoming more widespread as the environment changed.

Archaeologists think Duvensee was a lake at that time, and that Mesolithic campsites on islands and the shore were used by hunter-gatherers who visited there in the fall to harvest hazelnuts.

The burial was found during excavations earlier this month at a site first identified in the late 1980s by archaeologist Klaus Bokelmann and his students, who found worked flints there not during a formal excavation, but during a barbecue at a house on the edge of a nearby village, Lübke said.

“Because the sausages were not ready, Bokelmann told his students that if they found anything [in the bog nearby], then he would give them a bottle of Champagne,” he said. “And when they came back, they had a lot of flint artifacts.” 

The cremated bones date from about 10,500 years ago, during the Mesolithic era. They are the first human remains found at any of the Mesolithic sites at the Duvensee bog.

Ancient lake

The burial site is near at least six Mesolithic campsites, which would have been on the shores of the ancient lake at Duvensee, Lübke said.

The first sites investigated by Bokelmann in the 1980s were on islands that would have been near the western shore of the lake, which has completely silted up over the last 8,000 years or so, and formed a peat bog, called a “moor” in Germany.

Archaeologists have discovered mats made of bark for sitting on the damp soil, pieces of worked flint, and the remains of many Mesolithic fireplaces for roasting hazelnuts, but they haven’t unearthed any burials at the island sites.

“Maybe they didn’t bury people on the islands but only at the sites on the lake border, which seem to have had a different kind of function,” Lübke said.

Unlike during the later Mesolithic era, when specific areas were set aside for the burial of the dead, at this time it seemed the dead were buried near where they died, he said. Significantly, the body was cremated before its burial at the Duvensee site, like other burials of approximately the same age near Hammelev in southern Denmark, which is about 120 miles (195 kilometers) to the north. 

Only pieces of the largest bones were left after the cremation, and it’s not clear if they were wrapped in hide or bark before they were buried. In any case, “burning the body seems to be a central part of burial rituals at this time,” Lübke said.

The site where the cremated bones were found was identified in the 1980s when fragments of worked flints were found there, but it wasn’t excavated until this summer.

Changing landscape

As well as roasting hazelnuts and burning bodies — both of which are activities utilizing fire — Mesolithic people used the lakeside campgrounds for spearing fish, according to the discovery of several bone points crafted for that purpose that were found at the site.

Related: Look into the eyes of a Stone Age woman in this incredibly lifelike facial reconstruction

Flint fragments also have been found throughout the area, although flint doesn’t occur naturally there, suggesting that Mesolithic people repaired their tools and hunting weapons in this place during the annual hazelnut harvest in the fall, Lübke said.

The Duvensee bog is among the most important archaeological regions in northern Europe; dozens of Mesolithic sites have been found there since 1923, and most of them since the 1980s.

The Mesolithic sites at Duvensee are about the same age as the Mesolithic site at Star Carr in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, and some of the artifacts found there are very similar, Lübke said.

From that time until about 8,000 years ago, the Schleswig-Holstein region and Britain were connected by a now-submerged region called Doggerland, and it’s likely that Mesolithic groups would have shared technologies, he said.

The researchers now plan to carry out further excavations at the site of the Mesolithic burial, to determine what other activities took place there.

Head of Schleswig-Holstein’s State Archaeology Department, said the latest find at Duvensee is of global significance.

“It speaks to the long tradition of archaeological research in Schleswig-Holstein in the expiration of moors and wetlands,” he told Live Science in an email. “The present find advances itself and the landscape around it to something spectacular.”

But he noted that the preservation of organic finds in the Duvensee region is threatened by climatic changes that could result in heavy rain and flooding, or dry periods.

Both types of changes could threaten archaeological features in the area, so archaeologists are working to recover any finds and to develop strategies for better managing the area in the face of a changing climate, Ickerodt said.

Archaeologists Unearthed the Tomb of a Giant Warrior, Horses and a Witch in Germany

Archaeologists Unearthed the Tomb of a Giant Warrior, Horses and a Witch in Germany

Near a cemetery in Theiben, a small village in Germany an incredible finding was made. Two bodies were buried next to each other.

They both had interesting characteristics, one of them was massive, and the other,a small and petite, believed to be a woman, or a witch.

According to archeologists, these 2 findings belong to the Merovingian era which lasted from the fifth to the eight century.

First thing to look at is the Giant. The skeleton is around 8 feet tall, in a time when humanity was around 4 feet tall. So basically twice as tall as a normal human being.

And a sword next to him, 3.5 feet long, indicating the strength of the creature.

She on the other hand was tied up and had an iron bar in her chest which is a clear sign that she was believed to be a witch at the time. She was believed to be 18 years old and she was buried with her face down.

Face down burial is a method used to bury witches and evildoers so that they are sent straight to hell in the after life.

4 horse skeletons were unearthed as well, an ancient belief was to bury a warrior with its horse, so he can continue riding it in the after life.