The discovery of a military supply camp in Germany, five hectares in size and dating to 11-7BC, announced yesterday, is as significant as expected. The camp at Olfen on the River Lippe could have housed around 1,000 men.
So far archaeologists have found pottery and more than 100 coins, a ditch around the camp and a wooden wall. The camp dates to the campaigns of Drusus, brother of the emperor Tiberius. The last camp to be found in the region was at Anreppen, in 1968. Olfen is one of the smaller camps to be found, 230m by 250m.
The press release with numerous photos from the Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) is here. The LWL has also produced rather a good video about the find which you can also see at the bottom of this post.
Excitement is growing about the scale of the discovery of a military camp, in all liklihood from the end of the first century BC, along the River Lippe. It is being described as "the find of the century" by archaeologists for the Landschaftsverbandes Westfalen-Lippe (LWL).
The most significant route along which the Romans invaded into the heart of Germany, four major camps have been dicovered along the Lippe to date: Holsterhausen, Haltern, Oberaden and Anreppen. The news broke about a significant find in Olfen around a month ago (BBV had the first report).
Drusus the Elder is a shadowy figure. He is either remembered as the good looking Ian Ogilvy in the 1976 BBC television series of Robert Graves’ I Claudius, horsing around in the baths with his brother, George Baker’s Tiberius; or he is associated with the Drususstein, the haphazard-looking commemorative monument in the German city of Mainz.
Neither image does Drusus justice and it come as a shock to realise that Lindsay Powell’s Eager for Glory: The untold story of Drusus the Elder, conqueror of Germany (Pen & Sword Military) is the first full length biography not only of the man who conquered Switzerland and Germany, but was the father and great-grandfather of the emperors Claudius and Nero respectively.
Although young, Drusus Claudius Nero was one of the most decorated and popular commanders of the Roman army. Born in January 38BC and the younger brother of the emperor Tiberius, he was known for his easy going temperament and reliability. “A young man with as much character as human nature is capable of receiving or hard work can develop,” was his reputation with the army according to the Roman writer Vellius Paterculus.