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Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed

The burial chamber of the "Celtic Princess of the Danube" unearthed in 2010 remains one of the most important archaeological finds of the past decades in Germany. A new exhibition in Stuttgart allows the public to contemplate the riches found in the 2,600-year old grave. Even in plain view, the princess holds on to many secrets which keep puzzling archaeologists.

Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
The burial chamber of the "Celtic Princess of the Danube" unearthed in 2010 remains 
one of the most important archaeological finds of the past decades in Germany. A new
 exhibition in Stuttgart allows the public to contemplate the riches found in the 2,600-year
 old grave. Even in plain view, the princess holds on to many secrets which keep
 puzzling archaeologists [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
A golden brooch found in 2010 led to a spectacular archaeological discovery: a grave
 filled with burial objects. The site was hiding just a short distance away from Heuneburg, 
a settlement in the South of Germany which used to be held by a Celtic prince. It's the
 largest known pre-historic settlement north of the Alps, where up to 10,000 people
 were living from 620 to 470 BC [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
In order to analyze its contents in detail, archaeologists decided to remove the whole 
burial chamber from the earth. A 6-by-7.5-meter steel and concrete encasement
 weighing 80 tons was put on a truck and carried to a laboratory near Stuttgart 
equipped with the most modern research tools [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
The archaeologists made an astonishing discovery: The grave belonged to a member 
of the Celtic nobility. Most graves of this kind had been plundered centuries ago, but this
 one was still filled with magnificent burial objects, detailed ornamental jewelry
 made of gold, amber pearls, and bronze artifacts. Such items were only buried with
 particularly important figures of Celtic society [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
A two- or three-year-old child was also found in the grave. Archaeologists presume she 
was the daughter of the princess, as she was wearing similar precious jewelry. The third
 woman buried with them is a riddle: This skeleton was in the same chamber 
near the princess, but didn't have as many precious burial items with her. 
Maybe the maid? [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
Experts go into painstaking detail to find out as much as possible about these
 three people. For now, DNA tests couldn't determine any relationship between
 the three figures, as the bones are too deteriorated. Archaeologists hope technology
 will improve quickly enough to provide more information over the next few years. 
The research is set to continue until 2018 [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
The water flowing near the burial site helped preserve the wood used to build the 
burial chamber, which made it possible for archaeologists to date it very precisely. 
The wood comes from a fir tree cut in the year 583 BC. According to Dirk Krausse, 
who is in charge of the dig, "It is the oldest princely female grave yet
 from the Celtic world" [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
Who exactly was the mysterious princess? The answers are still limited for now. 
She was between 30 and 40 years old and had remarkably good teeth. The torso
 of her skeleton was still complete, but the head was located three meters 
away and her lower jaw was in another corner. It's unclear 
what that means [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
The burial objects do reveal some details of Celtic society which were unknown until now. 
An ornamental armor for horses found next to the unidentified woman was not
 typical of the region. This object might have come from northern Italy, whereas
 other elements came from the South. Celts were therefore involved
 in more interregional trade than archaeologists 
had previously thought [Credit: DW]
Secrets of 'Celtic princess of the Danube' revealed
No one knows whether the mysteries preserved in this astonishing grave will ever be
 solved. Archaeologists expect to spend many more years on the case. Before the
 artifacts go back to the lab for research, the secrets of the Celtic princess 
are on display in an exhibition center in the courtyard of the New 
Palace in Stuttgart through December 14, 2014 [Credit: DW]
Source: Deutsche Welle [November 29, 2014]
TANN

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