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"We are very confident that the human remains are more or less lying in the position where they died," Terberger, of the Lower Saxony State Office for Cultural Heritage, told Live Science.What's been found so far at the site probably represents only a fraction of the carnage, Terberger added, as the winning side likely looted weapons from the fallen enemies and recovered most of their dead comrades for a more respectful burial.But it wasn't until 2007 that a systematic exploration of the site began.Over the last decade, archaeologists have unearthed a veritable battlefield, dating back to 1250 B.(For example, someone who spent most of his or her life in Scandinavia will have a different strontium signature than a person from Spain.) The results of the study, which were published in August in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, showed that there was a large, diverse group of nonlocals involved in the battle.Unfortunately, strontium analyses are not so exact that archaeologists "can point to a map and say, ' They came from there,'" Terberger said.To get a clearer picture of who fought in the battle, Terberger and his colleagues decided to do a chemical analysis of the skeletons.The researchers looked for elements like strontium, a naturally occurring mineral in food that can leave a geographically specific signature in a person's bones.
The archaeologists are still searching for answers to the mystery at the heart of the battle: Why was it fought?C., spread along the banks of the Tollense River, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Berlin.