Rescue excavations with surprising discoveries: Archaeologists have found an interesting tomb complex from the early Middle Ages in Kirchheim am Neckar. In the middle of a circular pit, they found two tombs from a wooden chamber in which a man and a woman were buried. Fortunately, it was not completely ransacked by tomb robbers: the team discovered some precious funeral goods, which indicate that it was a resting place for an upper-class couple in the area.
‘There may be traces of past sleep in the land’: Previous discoveries showed that the city’s historic cemetery was in the Friedrichstrasse in Kirchheim am Neckar. “Reichsdorf”, located north of Ludwigsburg in the greater Stuttgart district, is first mentioned in a document of 1003. A planned development project in two parts of the well-known area now called archaeologists from the Baden-Württemberg State Office for Antiquities Preservation (LAD) is on the scene: Consider potential discoveries for documentation and insurance. However, what the salvage excavations have revealed has greatly exceeded the expectations of archaeologists, according to LAD.
Exquisite funeral merchandise
In addition to occupying ordinary earthen tombs, which probably represent the southwest end of the former Kirchheim cemetery, they came across the so-called ring moat. It is a structure in the ground that refers to a former burial mound. The team discovered a central tomb measuring four and a half meters by four meters, consisting of two individual graves. “When it was uncovered, it became apparent that there were two directly adjacent wooden tombs that had been carved into the rock at the bottom,” says Dorothy Brenner of LAD. Archaeologists found the remains of a woman in the North Room and a man in the South Room.
And it turns out that the two graves were unfortunately robbed — but apparently not entirely: “The burglary may have occurred after the wooden burial chambers were broken into. Fortunately, the area under the knees of the dead remained intact,” says Brenner. At least one valuable thing escaped the grave robbers on the upper part of the dead man’s body: a gold coin was placed in his mouth. In the area of the man’s foot, the team found, among other things, a large ornate bone metatarsal, ribbons made of silver plates, and a glass beaker. They also discovered a bronze vessel containing traces of organic matter. They also found marks and fragments of weapons and traces of horse bridles. Immediately next to the ring moat, the team also found a horse tomb apparently related to the man buried with his bridle.
Upper class couple
LAD reports that tomb robbers also lost some wonderful objects in the woman’s grave: In addition to a weaving sword, scissors, and a glass spinner, archaeologists found a pearl necklace, gold necklaces studded with Almenden gemstones, and a disc brooch. Another interesting find is a strap attachment with an ornate dial and Cypraea snail shell. These mollusks, also known as the porcelain snail, live in the Indian Ocean.
Based on the findings, archaeologists have assigned the double tomb approximately to the early Middle Ages, which lasted until the middle of the eleventh century. “We can assume the burial of an upper-caste couple in the early Middle Ages at Kirchheim am Neckar, who can be distinguished from the common people by the distance to other graves, among other things,” says Brenner, in explaining the significance of the finds. Kirchheim am Neckar now has a fascinating and mysterious testament to its history.
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