The archaeology of the Battle of Lützen: an examination of 17th century military material culture

Schürger, André (2015) The archaeology of the Battle of Lützen: an examination of 17th century military material culture. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

In the late 20th century, historical research on the 1632 Battle of Lützen, a major engagement of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), came to a dead end after 150 years of mostly unfruitful discussions. This thesis examines the battle’s military material culture, including historical accounts and physical evidence in the form of archaeological finds from the battlefield to provide new insight into the battle’s events, but also to develop a methodology which allows a comparison between two very different sources: the eyewitness account and the ‘lead bullet.’ To achieve this aim, the development of 17th century firearms is highlighted through an assessment of historical sources and existing weapons and by an evaluation of various collections of ‘lead bullets’ from Lützen and other archaeological sites, thus providing a working baseline for interpreting bullet distribution patterns on the battlefield. The validity of bullet distribution patterns is also dependant on the deposit process during the battle and metal detector survey methodologies, which also provides vital information for battlefield surveys in general. In an overarching methodology, statements from battle eyewitnesses are evaluated and compared to bullet distribution patterns, in conjunction with the historic landscape, equipment and tactics. Together, these ultimately lead to a better understanding of the battle and its historic narrative, by asking why reported events actually did not happen at Lützen. This last element is also important for understand the reliability of early modern battle accounts in general. Overall, a more general aim of this case study has been to provide a better insight into the wider potentials of early modern battle research in Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: battlefield archaeology, military history, Battle of Lützen, Wallenstein, Gustav II Adolf, 17th century firearms, 17th century tactics.
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Pollard, Dr. Tony
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: MA A Schürger
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6508
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2015 12:17
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2016 14:01
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6508

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