Home » Funeral huts and chariot grave | Message @ Archeology Online

Funeral huts and chariot grave | Message @ Archeology Online

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Funeral huts and chariot grave |  Message @ Archeology Online

A settlement area is currently being prepared for the US chip manufacturer Intel near Magdeburg. Archaeologists from the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Monument Preservation and Archeology (LDA) have been examining the area since 2023. The work will be completed in April 2024, months before construction of the initial two semiconductor plants begins. Now the investigations have once again delivered spectacular results.

The currently claimed 300 hectares also partially include a small hill, the Eulenberg. Although not particularly high, it divides the otherwise relatively low-relief Börde landscape, whose fertile loess and black earth soils were already an important location factor for settlers in the early Neolithic period. However, the area currently examined turned out to be a highly complex, long-used burial and ritual landscape.

During the Baalberg Culture (4100–3600 BC) in the middle Neolithic period, two large trapezoidal mortuary huts made of wood, 20 and 30 meters long, were built just 200 m apart from each other. Both were undoubtedly covered with a lot of earth; they were probably literally covered in hills and dominated the landscape.

The corridor in between was probably a procession route around a thousand years later, during the period of the spherical amphora culture (3300–2800 BC). Along this path there are pairs of young, 2-3 year old cattle lying down. In one case, the grave of a 35 to 40 year old man was dug before the cattle burials. The image that emerges is of a cart with a driver or a plow pulled by cattle, settings that are already known from other older and contemporary burials. They symbolize that the most important possession, the security of one’s own livelihood, was offered to the gods with the cattle.

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Around 1,000 years later, a palisade ditch that was still 50 cm wide took up the course of the former procession route and deliberately included the larger of the two burial mounds in the approximately 3 hectare burial landscape. It passed over the cattle burials but did not destroy them. In addition, several Corded Pottery burial mounds (around 2800-2050 BC) were discovered around 600 m away and were up to 10 m in diameter. There is therefore an astonishing consistency in the ritual use of this part of the Eulenberg. The subsequent processing of the finds promises even more interesting insights.

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