A burial chamber on the site, near the hills of Kyffhäuser
The Kyffhäuser is a range of hills located on the border of the German state of Thuringia with Saxony-Anhalt. It stands on the southern edge of the Harz. The range has a length of and a width of . It reaches its highest point at the Kulpenberg , situated in Thuringia...
in the Leubingen
district in the eastern German state
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....
, was first unearthed in 1877 by art professor, archaeologist Friedrich Klopfleisch (1831–1898). it was recognized to be part of a temple or residence. Recent work on the site has revealed the remains of one of the largest buildings in prehistoric Germany, with 470 square meters (5,057 square feet) of floor space, a trove of bronze objects, and a cemetery of 44 farmers.
- Location: Leubingen
- Era: Early Bronze Age
- Culture: Unetice culture
Unetice; or more properly Únětice culture ; is the name given to an early Bronze Age culture, preceded by the Beaker culture and followed by the Tumulus culture. It was named after finds at site in Únětice, northwest of Prague. It is focused around the Czech Republic, southern and central Germany,...
- Date of creation: ca. 1940 BC
- Date of Excavation: 1877
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...
burial chamber high burial chamber
This grave consists of a Burial Chamber
A chamber tomb is a tomb for burial used in many different cultures. In the case of individual burials, the chamber is thought to signify a higher status for the interree than a simple grave. Built from rock or sometimes wood, the chambers could also serve as places for storage of the dead from one...
roughly the form of a hut/house of the time. It has a saddle-shaped roof made out of heavy oaken beams covered in stones with an earthen burial mound on top of the structure. the mound is 7 metres (23 ft) high and contains a burial chamber of 3.9–2.1 m (12.8–6.9 ft) with a maximum height of 7 metres (23 ft). This is the grave of a member of the Elite (based on rich contents of the burial chamber as well as the presence of metal in the funerary gifts).
Contents of the Grave
In a central position lay the body of a man about 50 years old, draped over his loins at an angle of ca. 40° lies the body of a young woman who was seemingly killed right after the death of the man.
- Aside his right shoulder:
- An open bracelet
- Two pins
- Two rings
- A spiral made out of gold.
- At his feet:
- A stone battle-hammer which was pierced
- A rectangular stone (anvil?)
- Two bronze edge-axes (axe with elevated edges to prevent it from moving too much on the handle it was attached to)
- Three bronze chisels
- Three bronze daggerblades which were placed in leather and oak bark scabbards.
- Also found there was the blade of a stapled halberd (Stabdolch).
- In a corner of the Burial Chamber stood a big ceramic pot, with brown and black decorations, with little ears on the shoulder.
Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree-rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year...
testing has placed the grave at circa 1940 BC. This type of burial is typical for elite graves in the Early Bronze Age in Western Europe.
Between the 8th and 11th century AD, the local (nowadays Slavic) community placed a gravefield (cemetery) of about 70 graves in and around this manmade hill.