In the course of an educational dig in Gernsheim in the Hessian Ried, archaeologists from Frankfurt University have discovered a long lost Roman fort: A troop unit made up out of approximately 500 soldiers (known as a cohort) was stationed there between 70/80 and 110/120 AD. Over the past weeks, the archaeologists found two V-shaped ditches, typical of this type of fort, and the post holes of a wooden defensive tower as well as other evidence from the time after the fort was abandoned.
An unusually large number of finds were made. This is because the Roman troops dismantled the fort and filled in the ditches when they left. In the process they disposed of a lot of waste, especially in the inner ditch. “A bonanza for us,” according to Prof. Dr. Hans-Markus von Kaenel from the Goethe University Institute of Archaeology. Read more.
Egypt on Wednesday received from Germany a painted limestone relief that was stolen in the last century from the tomb of 18th dynasty high priest Sobekhotep in the Nobles necropolis on Luxor’s west bank.
Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damati told Ahram Online that the recovery of the relief started a few months ago when he was Egypt’s cultural attaché in Germany and curators at Bonn University Museum were working hard to organise a temporary exhibition there.
During preparations, a curator at the museum spotted the relief and it was confirmed that it was stolen and had been taken from the 18th dynasty tomb of Sobekhotep, a high priest during the reign of King Tuthmose IV. Read more.
Children’s skulls found at the edges of Bronze Age settlements may have been a gruesome gift for the local lake gods.
The children’s skulls were discovered encircling the perimeter of ancient villages around lakes in Switzerland and Germany. Some had suffered ax blows and other head traumas.
Though the children probably weren’t human sacrifices killed to appease the gods, they may have been offered after death as gifts to ward off flooding, said study co-author Benjamin Jennings, an archaeologist at Basel University in Switzerland. Read more.
More than 10,600 artifacts dating from Neolithic times that were removed illegally by Nazi archaeologists during World War II have been returned to Greece from the German Pfahlbaumuseum, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) reported on Tuesday.
The items were officially handed back to Greece during a low-key ceremony attended by Greek and German officials in Athens, including Culture Minister Constantinos Tasoulas, German Ambassador to Athens Wolfgang Dold and Pfahlbaumuseum Director Gunter Schoebel.
The return of the artifacts, most of which were excavated in the Thessaly region in 1941 during an operation organized by Hitler’s chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, arose from a doctoral thesis by Angelica Douzougli, an honorary ephor of antiquities. She located the artifacts in the 1970s over the course of research conducted in Germany and has since spearheaded the campaign for their repatriation. Read more.
The elixir of long life is a bitter, alcohol-heavy concoction — if you trust a 150-year-old bottle unearthed at a hotel construction site in New York’s Lower East Side.
The site, once a German beer garden and music hall called the Atlantic Garden, contained hundreds of liquor bottles dating from as far as the 1850s.
Among them, there was a greenish glass vial that was believed to help people cheat death.
Intrigued, the team behind the find at Chrysalis Archaeology tracked down the historic recipe in Germany. They found it in a 19th-century medical guide.
The ingredients included aloe, gentian, rhubarb, Spanish saffron, Zedoary (white turmeric), and one part water to three parts alcohol. Read more.
Archaeologists have confirmed the presence of a long-lost Roman military camp deep in eastern Germany. The 18-hectare site, found near the town of Hachelbich in Thuringia, would have sheltered a Roman legion of up to 5000 troops. Its location in a broad valley with few impediments suggests it was a stopover on the way to invade territory further east.
“People have been searching for evidence of the Romans in this part of Germany for 200 years,” says team leader Mario Kuessner, an archaeologist working for the state of Thuringia. “It took a long time before we realized what we had, and we wanted to be sure.” Read more.
Scientists of the Lower Saxony Heritage Authority and of the University of Tübingen excavating at the Schöningen open-cast coal mine in north-central Germany have discovered the remains of a saber-toothed cat preserved in a layer some 300,000 years old – the same stratum in which wooden spears were found, indicating that early humans also inhabited the area, which at that time was the bank of a shallow lake.
The discovery sheds new light on the relationship between early humans and beasts of prey. It is highly likely that humans were confronted by saber-toothed cats at the Schöningen lakeside. In that case, all the human could do was grab his up to 2.3m long spear and defend himself. In this context, the Schöningen spears must be regarded as weapons for defense as well as hunting – a vital tool for human survival in Europe 300,000 years ago. Read more.
Archaeologists have discovered Germany’s second oldest church hidden within a cathedral in the west of the country.
In the so-called “Old Cathedral” in Mainz, which is today the evangelical Church of St John, archaeologists found the remains of another church built 1,200 years ago in the time of Charlemagne, Deacon Andreas Klodt said on Tuesday.
Only Trier on the Mosel River has an older church, with its cathedral dating back to Roman times, making the find the second oldest church in the country.
Professor Matthias Untermann from the Institute of Art History in Heidelberg said the remains of the Carolingian walls stretched from the basement to the roof.
“This is a big surprise,” he said. Read more.