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Archaeologists find rare Stone Age graves in Germany

Archaeologists have discovered 25 rare Stone Age graves in the district of Borde, north of the city of Magdeburg in eastern Germany, according to project director Susanne Friederich of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.

Archaeologists find rare Stone Age graves in Germany
Credit: dpa
Friederich said the 6,500-year-old find near Wedringen is a cremation cemetery of the so-called Central European Rossen culture.

This is a peculiarity, since in this culture the dead were normally buried in the earth. "They are not tombs with urns, but the holes of the tombs have a size that corresponds to the burials of entire bodies," said Friederich.

Instead of a complete skeleton, the archaeologists found only fragments of cremated corpses. The dead were burned with their personal belongings. This was evidenced by stone axes cracked by the effect of heat.

Archaeologists find rare Stone Age graves in Germany
Credit: dpa
"The axe was invented in the era of Rossen culture", said Friederich. The fragments of cremated corpses lay together with ash remains in the middle of the respective grave pit.

The archaeologist added that it was possible that the people of Rossen had copied the cremation burial from the Stichband culture, whose followers lived in the area at about the same time.

The vessels stood at the eastern edge of each grave pit, like at a corpse burial. Possibly food for the way to the afterlife lay in them. In addition, more or less carelessly deposited vessels were found in the vicinity of the grave pits.

Archaeologists find rare Stone Age graves in Germany
Credit: dpa
"It could have been the remains of a funeral ceremony involving drinking," Friederich said. An outline of the house has also been uncovered. The people lived in small, hamlet or village-like settlements. Their houses were up to 30 metres long.

In the 1870s a cemetery of the group was discovered for the first time in today's Leuna district Rossen (Saalekreis) in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt and the group was named after it. It stretched from the Rhine to Bohemia.

Archaeologists find rare Stone Age graves in Germany
Credit: dpa
Characteristic for the Rossen culture are the area-wide decorated ceramic vessels. Another typical feature is ornaments with bird bones pressed into the clay. The resulting recesses were filled with a white paste.

The excavations at Wedringen were carried out in the run-up to the construction of a new bypass.

Source: Welt [July 31, 2019]


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