Archaeologists in Germany say they have found an ancient battlefield strewn with Roman weapons. The find is significant because it indicates that Romans were fighting battles in north Germany at a far later stage than previously assumed.
The wilds of Germany may not have been off-limits to Roman legions, archaeologists announced on Monday. At a press conference in the woods near the town of Kalefeld, about 100 kilometers south of Hanover, researchers announced the discovery of a battlefield strewn with hundreds of Roman artifacts dating from the 3rd century A.D.
This is very interesting excerpt from one of the many blogs on Kalefeld...........
The greatest amount of weapons has been found on the northern slopes of the Harzhorn. The way finds are distributed indicates the possibility that part of the slope has been hit by a mudslide that took material with it. The article also stresses the unusual discovery of an obviously unplundered battlefield. Broken wagons, hundreds of missiles sticking out of the ground (not buried too deeply then) and lost equipment must have been visible for years until woods covered the place. One possible explanation the article mentions is that the area was considered taboo. Strange as this may sound to us, the Germanic tribes had beliefs we can only guess at since the Romans seldom mention them (and not everything Tacitus wrote can be taken face value). Though such a taboo had not been invoked for the Varus battlefield, at least not until much later. The question remains unanswered for now.
Research of the battlefield has only begun, and every day can bring to light new finds that may change the prospected model of the events.
We don't know for sure the size of the Roman troops. Since they brought a train and torsion catapults, it can't have been a small unit, the article says. This is interesting because so far the number of about 1000 men was mentioned in most articles about Kalefeld. It would indeed have been a small troop to send against hostile Germans - Varus had three legions and six auxiliary cohorts, Germanicus six legions (a legion has between 5000-6000 men) plus cavalry, and I'm pretty sure more than one legion would have been needed on a punitive expedition or preventive foray against several united Germanic tribes deep inside German territory.
Therefore the thousand men who fought at Kalefeld probably were a sub-unit of a larger army in the surroundings, perhaps on an expedition or the armed escort of an embassy. Even if the presence of Romans can be connected with Maximinus Thrax' camp-aign, I doubt Kalefeld is the site of the Battle of the Swamp. Sure, there might have been swamps in Roman times, extensive agriculture drained many of those, as the Varus battlefield of Kalkriese shows, but it would have been a mere skirmish compared to other battles the Romans fought. Imho, the Romans of Kalefeld either belonged to some different expedition not mentioned in the sources, or there were several military conflicts during the campaign, and the Historia Augusta only mentions the most important.
The following scenario seems possible according to the present discoveries, the article says: Roman troops on their way back from the north found the path blocked and fought their way out upward the slopes of the Harzhorn. Obviously the Romans were victorious thanks to their superior technology, but had to retreat to the Leine valley because of the ongoing threat from the Germans. And from there, I suppose, back to Moguntiacum at some point