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4 June 2005
Bronze Age burial site found in Germany

The skeletal remain of a Bronze Age lord, along with his retainers have been discovered in a burial mound at the most celebrated of archeological sites in Germany.
     Archeologist Olaf Schroeder said the 4,200 year-old mound was one of at least eight barrows still intact at the holy site, which, in 1991 yielded the Nebra Celestial Disc, the earliest known depiction of the heavens. After receiving a tip that treasure hunters were digging for gold in the area, Government Archeologists began excavating the area and found the first of the skeletons, a sentry, just inside the burial chamber entrance.
     "We kept on digging," Schroeder said, "deep in the barrow, we found the Bronze Age burial chamber. It was two meters square with a roof that had sagged to about half-a-meter high. It was fully lined with sandstone slabs."
     Schroeder also commented that the lord was missing his upper body and legs. There was also a precious bronze knife and a needle laying next to him. The remains of his court lie around him.  Judging from the deformity of the skulls, these individuals must have died a very violent death by blunt instrument. Three of the finds were of children, aged four, five and the eldest at 10 years old, a girl, who was found with her spiral-shaped earrings by her skull.
     The tomb was dated to 3,000 years, making it much newer than the burial mound itself.  An archeological park will be built at Nebra, which lies in Eastern Germany in the Saxony-Anhalt area.
     As for the mysterious Nebra Celestial Disc, it is a bronze disc around 30cm in diameter, covered with a bluish-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols depicting a sun or full moon, stars including a cluster that may be the Pleiades, a crescent with multiple strokes that may be interpreted as a sun boat with many oars. Nebra is an area rich in mysterious culture that derived from farming and traded with other parts of the ancient world.

Sources: Mail & Guardian on-line, free-defininition.com (1 June 2005)

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