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Bronze Age cermonial dagger discovered in central Germany


The remains of a Bronze Age settlement have been found on the property of a recycling company in Erfurt's industrial park GVZ during work to build a carpark.

Bronze Age cermonial dagger discovered in central Germany
Bronze dagger: The weapon dates from the Early Bronze Age andwas probably worn
 as an ornament by a local ruler [Credit: : MDR/Wolfgang Hentschel]
Archaeologist Karin Sczech suspects that the settlement could have been the centre of a regional kingdom, referring in particular to the discovery of a rare well-preserved staff dagger.


"The staff dagger is a masterpiece of the Early Bronze Age," says Sczech. "Similar specimens are only known from six sites, mainly in Brandenburg and Poland. There the daggers are well attested as prominent grave goods or from ritually deposited hoards. The prince of Leubing also had such a dagger in his burial mound."

The Erfurt dagger is unprecedented in its design. It has a central rib, fine embossed decoration and prominently protruding rivets. The upper part is broken off, but overall the dagger looks like new. According to Sczech the scientists still argue whether such noble daggers were used in battle or only as status symbols of the elites.

Bronze Age cermonial dagger discovered in central Germany
Excavation of post holes [Credit: MDR/Wolfgang Hentschel]
The dagger was once attached to an arm-length staff, which was probably also made of bronze and had a wooden core. The staff has not been preserved.


The dagger was discovered by excavation worker Thomas Schmidt in the debris of the bulldozer that moved the earth during the excavation.

"Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to say in which environment the dagger was lying in the ground", says Sczech. "The other finds on the site, however, point to a settlement that had existed for several centuries."

Bronze Age cermonial dagger discovered in central Germany
The finds also include a so-called grooved hammer, which was attached to a handle with ropes
[Credit: MDR/Wolfgang Hentschel]
This also includes a large grooved stone hammer head with traces of use that was once tied to a wooden shaft with ropes.


Archaeologists have also found ceramics and other objects in the vicinity of the hammer, which clearly indicate that they are from the 'Unetice culture' of the Early Bronze Age.

On the basis of post holes in the ground, two parallel house layouts can be reconstructed. One of the houses, which may have been built one after the other, was at least 18 metres long. Such longhouses served both as stables and houses. These houses cannot be dated, but based on the surrounding finds, such as a typical ceramic storage vessel, it is highly probable that they are 4000 years old.


A grave with a destroyed skull and missing bones is several hundred years older and shows that the site was already inhabited in the Neolithic Age.

The grave goods, which included an axe, a blade and a stone scraper, as well as the orientation of the grave show that it is the grave of a man.

According to Sczech, it was "standard equipment" of that time - in contrast to the owner of the dagger, the dead man probably had no particular social rank.

Source: Thüringe Allgemeine [April 26, 2019]

TANN

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