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6,300-year-old skeleton found in Austrian village

As archaeological excavations in 2018 and 2020 have proven, the municipality of Lutzmannnsburg has been continuously inhabited for 7,000 years. The investigation focused on the area of the retention basin on the Zagabach stream, which is intended to protect the local spa from the danger of flooding.

6,300-year-old skeleton found in Austrian village

In the previous year, the excavations focused on the area of the old stream. Among them, the Stone Age clay extraction areas lying next to the stream were uncovered, where the settlers of the Epilengyel culture of the 5th millennium BC obtained the raw material they needed for house construction and pottery.

The skeleton of a man who died between the ages of 17 and 22 was found at the edge of the quarry site. “The man had strong muscles, which suggests that he had worked hard physically. And there are indications of malnutrition,” said anthropologist Silvia Renhart of the Universalmuseum Johanneum Graz. 

6,300-year-old skeleton found in Austrian village

"His body was subjected to special treatment. After the onset of rigor mortis, the deceased was tied up tightly and then buried in a relatively small pit. After the excavation was completed, the skeleton was subjected to radiocarbon dating, which was carried out by the American laboratory Beta Analytic and yielded a date of 4,366 to 4,316 BC. This makes the grave not only one of the rarest and oldest burials in Eastern Austria, but also one of the oldest graves in Central Europe," explains archaeologist Dorothea Talaa.

Directly next to the Zagabach, another extensive Stone Age settlement, a village of the Copper Age Baden culture of the 4th millennium BC, was also located during the excavations.

6,300-year-old skeleton found in Austrian village

"Already in 2018, two cremation graves belonging to the settlement of a 41- to 60-year-old man and a woman who died between 31 and 50 years of age were found east of the Zagabach. Both graves were also subjected to radiocarbon dating, which yielded a date of 3,340 to 3,206 BC for the woman's burial and 3,247 to 3,101 BC for the male burial. Cremations of the Copper Age are not only rare graves, but also one of the most elaborate burials and therefore mostly reserved for people of higher rank," says Talaa.

The finds are currently being conserved and scientifically processed and will then be exhibited in Lutzmannsburg.

Source: BVZ [trsl. TANN; April 10, 2021]

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