|31 December 2010
Rich Celtic tomb discovered in Germany
Archeologists in Germany have discovered a 2,600-year-old Celtic tomb containing ornate jewellery of gold and amber. They say the grave is unusually well preserved and should provide important insights into early Celtic culture.
The exceptionally well-preserved subterranean chamber measuring four by five meters was uncovered near the prehistoric Heuneburg hillfort near the town of Herbertingen in south-western Germany. Its contents including the oak floor of the room are unusually well preserved. The find is a "milestone for the reconstruction of the social history of the Celts," archeologist Dirk Krausse, the director of the dig, said. The intact oak should allow archeologists to ascertain the precise age of the tomb through tree-ring dating. This is rarely possible with Celtic finds because the Celts left behind no writings and their buildings, usually made from wood and clay, have long since crumbled away.
Krausse said the artefacts found suggest that a woman from the Heuneburg aristocracy was buried there, but added that laboratory tests will need to be conducted to be certain. Only a small part of the chamber has so far been examined. The entire room weighing some 80 tons was lifted by two cranes onto a flatbed truck and taken to a research facility in Ludwigsburg. The results of the analysis will be presented in June 2011, researchers said.
Heuneburg is regarded as one of the most important Celtic settlements and was a vital trading center during the period between 620 and 480 BCE. Intensive excavation has taken place at the site since 1950. Other tombs found at Heuneburg over the decades had already been plundered.
The tomb and the objects are to go on show in an exhibition in Stuttgart in 2012.
Edited from The Local (28 December 2010), Spiegel Online (29 December 2010)
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