Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "germany"


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.

German prosecutors say they’re investigating two self-styled researchers who have admitted chipping off a piece from a pyramid’s burial chamber in their attempt to prove a theory the structure was built by people pre-dating the ancient Egyptians.

Chemniz prosecutor Ingrid Burghart said Friday that Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann are under investigation on suspicion of theft.

Egyptian authorities on Thursday said six Egyptians were already in custody on charges of being accessories to the German men on their expedition last April.

Egyptian prosecutor Hisham Barakat says the men entered the famed Giza pyramids with permits to visit but not excavate, and left with samples of stone from the ramparts of two tombs and the burial room of King Khufu.

The Germans apologized in December, saying their purpose was purely scientific. (source)

Domesticated pigs were present in northern Germany around 4600 B.C., some 500 years earlier than previously thought, new fossil and DNA evidence reveals.

The finding, detailed in this week’s issue of the journal Nature Communications, is significant because the people living in that part of Europe at the time were Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who primarily lived off of wild game.

These people, known as the Ertebølle culture, kept domesticated dogs as hunting companions, but it would be several hundreds of years before they began raising animals and crops for food.

One hypothesis for how the Ertebølle came to acquire the pigs is that they traded for them with their farmer neighbors to the south. Read more.

A badger has led German archaeologists to a stunning find of medieval warrior graves, complete with one skeleton still clutching a sword and a wearing snake-shaped buckle on his belt. 

Scientists are now examining the burial site where at least eight people were buried.

Artist and voluntary monument maintenance man Lars Wilhelm said he was watching badgers near his home in Brandenburg, north Germany, when he realized they were digging into an ancient grave. 

He said he had been watching the progress of an enormous badger sett for five years. “My wife and I - we are both sculptors - wanted to put artworks in there.” 

But this was now out of the question, he said. “The bones changed everything,” he added. Read more.

A new exhibition at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia is causing diplomatic friction between Germany and Russia. “The Bronze Age of Europe: Europe Without Borders” features some German works of art that were looted by Russian soldiers at the end of World War II.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in St. Petersburg for a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and the two leaders were on hand Friday at the Hermitage to open the exhibition. During the visit, Merkel reportedly called on Russia to return the looted items.

"It’s our opinion that these exhibition pieces should be returned to Germany," she said, according to Reuters. Putin reportedly replied that it was time to stop making repatriation claims. Read more.

Thousands of Greek antiquities removed from Greece during Second World War will be returned to the country from Germany in June, the ministry of culture confirmed on Wednesday.

According to a document submitted to parliament by Alternate Culture Minister Kostas Tzavaras, the Pfahlbaumuseum will return to Greece 8,000 pottery fragments from the Neolithic Era, which were illegally excavated in 1941 near Velestino, Thessaly.

Pfahlbaumuseum is an archaeological open-air museum in southern Germany, consisting of reconstructions of stilt houses from the Neolithic and Bronze Age.

The ministry’s general directorate for antiquities is collecting data for all antiquities illegally removed from Greece during the German occupation. Read more.

For years, few were interested in unearthing what lay beneath old gallows and scaffolds. But, in Germany, growing interest in “execution site archaeology” is throwing much light on how the executed died and the executors lived.

Her interests initially focused on fashion, but then they migrated to murder and decay. Marita Genesis, 42, worked as a runway model for Escada after graduating from secondary school. Later, she studied ancient and early history, and learned about criminal law.

Now, the archaeologist is surrounded by criminals. She is standing in a storeroom belonging to the Thuringia State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and pointing at a number of bones. These are the remains of thieves, sodomites and child murderers. Read more.