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December 23 2012

Baltic Crusades Caused Extinctions, End to Pagan Practices


The Baltic Crusades left major ecological and cultural scars on medieval pagan villages, and new archaeological evidence shows the campaign caused deforestation, pushed species to extinction and may have even ended a pagan practice of eating dogs.

From the 12th century to the 16th century, a group of a Germanic Christian knights known as the Teutonic Order waged war against pagans, who viewed much of nature as sacred, in what is today Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and parts of Sweden and Russia. An archaeological and anthropological team, led by Stanford University researcher Krish Seetah, has been piecing together the changes that took place during this period, with an emphasis on the crusaders' use of wildlife.

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