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Thread: A harem for the hereafter: Tomb of an ancient Germanic lord is unearthed with a circle of six women around a cauldron (Brücken-Hackpfüffel)

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    A harem for the hereafter: Tomb of an ancient Germanic lord is unearthed with a circle of six women around a cauldron (Brücken-Hackpfüffel)

    A harem for the hereafter: Tomb of an ancient Germanic lord is unearthed with a circle of six women around a cauldron who 'may have been killed or sacrificed themselves' on his death 1,500 years ago

    • Six women believed to be concubines were found buried in a radial arrangement in a central tomb
    • Researchers have yet to find the remains of the high-ranking lord or prince that the tomb is dedicated to
    • Ashes may be inside the remains of a cauldron found in the central tomb alongside animal burials and gold, silver and glass items



    This aerial picture shows the central tomb of the burial. This shows the remains of 11 animals, including cattle.

    The complex grave of a Germanic lord or prince who lived 1,500 years ago during the Great Migration has been unearthed in Saxony-Anhalt, near Brücken-Hackpfüffel.

    Experts say the site is the country's most important archaeological find for 40 years and have kept the exact location of the dig a secret to stave off thieves.

    Excavations got underway when builders were clearing land for a new chicken farm, and stumbled across the cemetery of a royal court.

    Despite the high-ranking status of the person entombed within, the researchers have yet to locate the remains of the prince they suspect was laid to rest there.



    The site (pictured) has been unearthed in Saxony-Anhalt, near Brücken-Hackpfüffel accidentally by builders hoping to create a new chicken farm. Experts have kept its exact location a secret



    This very well-preserved glass bowl lies in the workshop of the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte for further examination. It was among the objects found in a 1,500-year-old tomb alongside 60 undamaged graves of a princely court in modern-day Mansfeld-Südharz



    This elaborate vestment clasp lies in the workshop of the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte for further examination. The clips, which include pieces of snagged textile, are thought to indicate the presence of a Germanic tribe, either the Longobards, Alemanni or Thuringians

    They speculate his ashes may be inside a bronze cauldron in the central tomb, which is around 13 feet by 13 feet in size.

    The cauldron, the focal point of the mounded tomb, is surrounded by six women buried in a radial alignment from the pot, like the hands of a clock, The Times reports.

    Researchers say these may well have been concubines or widows belonging to the person being buried, but it remains a mystery as to whether they were slain for the burial or sacrificed themselves.

    Speculation is rife about the cause of the bizarre arrangement, but researchers say it is too soon to talk of a ritualistic cult death.

    It also holds the remains of eleven animals, including cattle, horses and dogs.



    This Germanic god statue is thought to be around 1,800 years old. The figure is likely to have been a sacred object and was buried with its owner, archaeologists believe



    Archaeologist Arnold Muhl shows artistic vestment clasps in his workshop. The objects are 1,500 years old and come from 60 undamaged graves alongside the tomb of a Germanic lord who lived during the Great Migration



    These incredibly detailed and well-preserved clasps were some of the ornate grave goods found at the royal cemetery

    Beyond this central tomb, believed to be of a high-ranking individual, are around 60 other graves, subsequently buried in the cemetery to honour the lord.

    The cauldron, believed to be central to the tomb's history, was block lifted out of the ground and will be carefully analysed in a laboratory.

    'We haven't found the prince himself yet. But maybe his ashes are in the bronze cauldron, ' archaeologist Susanne Friederich from the Landesmuseum Halle said.

    Also inside the central tomb are the remains of 11 animals, including cattle, dogs and horses.

    These animals were reburied at this location, further indication the site was created to honour a high-ranking person in society.

    Ms Friederich adds: 'The unique finds suggest that high-ranking personalities were buried here.'



    It is thought the central burial chamber would have been part of a mounded tomb, with the dozens of surrounding graves added later.

    Initial estimates date the site as being from between AD480 and AD530, a period of time following the fall of the Roman Empire which saw many Germanic tribes, such as the Huns, invade territories which were no longer under Roman protection.

    'The cemetery has almost 60 graves,' said archaeologist Arnold Muhl.

    'In the graves, among other things, a glass decorated bowl, a spindle whorl made of glass, several silver-gilded robe clips, a sword and a shield boss made of iron as well as a gold coin of the Eastern Roman emperor Zeno around 480 were found.

    'The pieces of glass come from the Gallo-Roman workshops along the Rhine, only they mastered this technique.'

    Other finds include an immaculate pointed glass beaker adorned with curved grooves which would have housed a floating wick lamp and garment clips.

    The clips, which include pieces of snagged textile, are thought to indicate the presence of a Germanic tribe, either the Longobards, Alemanni or Thuringians.

    The site is in immaculate condition due to its unique location, which inadvertently protected it from damage.

    The burial ground was in a natural hollow which, over time, was covered by around four feet (1.20 meters) of sediment, which provided a protective layer.

    This protected it from any ploughing and also hid it from view of any treasure hunters or grave robbers.

    By analysing the bones and artefacts, the scientists hope to gain concrete insights into people's lives at the time of the Great Migration.

    Daily Mail
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    I stated in the CB that I was skeptical about this being a chiefs (or any man's grave), but the presence of grave goods like a sword and a shield seems to confirm the given interpretation.

    But what I note is this:

    These animals were reburied at this location, further indication the site was created to honour a high-ranking person in society.

    Ms Friederich adds: 'The unique finds suggest that high-ranking personalities were buried here.'
    I interpret this as that people have sacrificed these animals at the grave. Did they sacrifice them to the person/persons buried in the grave, as Egyptians would sacrifice food to the mummies of the deceases in order to nourish them in the afterlife, or as gifts to the gods? We have sources of people meditating on grave mounds to contact people in the hereafter. Could they have seen the dead and their graves as a portal, or conduits, to beyond? Or that by attaching themselves, in death, to someone who would go to Valhalla, they too would go there (or somewhere similar)? If only they chief went to Valhalla (etc.), alone, what would have been the point of having the six women following him?

    No. Old Germanic conceptions of the afterlife were obviously more complex than is thought today.

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    What is the evidence for them being concubines rather than some sort of sacrificial cost, afterlife-fellow travellers like Neophyte mentioned, run-of-the-mill servants, etc ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coillearnach View Post
    What is the evidence for them being concubines rather than some sort of sacrificial cost, afterlife-fellow travellers like Neophyte mentioned, run-of-the-mill servants, etc ?
    The archaeologists personal fantasies?

    More seriously, this conjures up images of witches gathering around a smoking cauldron, cooking up some sinister brew. A more interesting interpretation would be that it was the chief/warrior in the cauldron who was the real sacrifice. Where have we heard of Germanic people being buried in cauldrons? Do we have any other examples of this anywhere? Not that I know of. The women should then be the witches/priestesses who administered the sacrifice and who followed it to make sure that it got through, or to have it make a way for them into the afterlife or to the realm of the gods.

    And to clarify what I wrote above, I understand it as if people have returned to the grave again and again, well after the initial event, and buried sacrifices in it. So yes, it could very well have been seen as a portal to the gods.

    Him in a pot and his paramours laid out as spokes around the pot? Not a likely scenario to me. I think that a romantic or sexual relationship between the buried would have been manifested in some other manner.

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