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Concept: Thirty Years' War

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Contemporary accounts of battles are often incomplete or even erroneous because they reflect the-often biased-viewpoints of the authors. Battlefield archaeology faces the task of compiling an historical analysis of a battle and of gathering all the available facts. Besides cultural historical evidence and artefacts, the human remains of those who have fallen in battle also provide invaluable information. In studying mass graves from a military context, the injury types and patterns are significant. They allow us to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding the soldiers' deaths and provide information on the hostilities that occurred on the battlefield. One such mass grave was discovered in 2011 at Lützen, Saxony-Anhalt (Germany). Based on its geographical location and on the results obtained from archaeological examinations carried out in the area, the grave could be dated to the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Further archaeological research confirmed that the dead had been soldiers from the Battle of Lützen (1632). The mass grave was block-lifted and then comprehensively examined at the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle (Saale). As well as osteological examinations to determine age, sex, height, state of health, i.e. diseases or injuries, imaging methods were also employed and histological and isotopic analyses carried out. The focus of this study was on the injuries sustained by the soldiers both prior to and during the battle. The results revealed that the 47 deceased had been between the ages of 15 and 50 when they died. Numerous healed injuries showed that the men had often been involved in violent encounters. Approximately three in every four soldiers had injuries that could have been fatal. Wounds inflicted by handguns, particularly to the skull, were predominant. The integrative analysis of the archaeological and anthropological data allowed us to conclude that the majority had been killed during a cavalry attack.

Concepts: Death, Anthropology, History, Military, Archaeology, War, Thirty Years' War, Halle, Saxony-Anhalt

12

Tree ring-based temperature reconstructions form the scientific backbone of the current global change debate. Although some European records extend into medieval times, high-resolution, long-term, regional-scale paleoclimatic evidence is missing for the eastern part of the continent. Here we compile 545 samples of living trees and historical timbers from the greater Tatra region to reconstruct interannual to centennial-long variations in Eastern European May-June temperature back to 1040 AD. Recent anthropogenic warming exceeds the range of past natural climate variability. Increased plague outbreaks and political conflicts, as well as decreased settlement activities, coincided with temperature depressions. The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years War in the early 17th century, and the French Invasion of Russia in the early 19th century all occurred during the coldest episodes of the last millennium. A comparison with summer temperature reconstructions from Scandinavia, the Alps, and the Pyrenees emphasizes the seasonal and spatial specificity of our results, questioning those large-scale reconstructions that simply average individual sites.

Concepts: Climate change, Europe, Germany, Spain, Black Death, Global warming, 17th century, Thirty Years' War

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Jörg Jenatsch, a leading freedom fighter during the Thirty Year’s War in Graubünden, Switzerland, was assassinated on carnival 1639. Jenatsch’s controversial biography and the unclear circumstances of his death inspired the formation of various legends, novels and films. In 1959, a skeleton discovered in the cathedral of Chur with remains of wealthy baroque clothing was tentatively attributed to Jenatsch. Here, we reassess the skeleton based on a new exhumation. Our multidisciplinary analysis and the head injuries are consistent with reports of the eyewitnesses of the crime, demonstrating that Jenatsch was killed from behind with a semi-sharp implement, supposedly an axe, as well as by a blow with a broad-surfaced object. Moreover, our facial reconstruction closely matches an oil portrait of Jenatsch, and the HIrisPlex system applied to DNA-extracts from the femoral bone reveals brown eye and dark brown hair colour, which coincides well with the portrait, too. Finally, isotope analysis of the femoral bone and a molar support Jenatsch’s high social status, luxury diet and a high mobility in the last decade of his life. This multidisciplinary approach thus reinforces personal identification and provides additional insight into the life of this important historic person beyond written resources.

Concepts: Skeleton, Murder, Brown, Thirty Years' War, Human hair color, Chur, Brown hair, Jörg Jenatsch

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OBJECTIVE:To summarize more than thirty years of experience with urachal carcinoma and to discuss the clinical features of urachal carcinoma.

Concepts: Thirty Years' War