Crocs Uncover

Bizarre Species

lunes, 9 de noviembre de 2009

"Extraordinary" Ancient Skeletons Found

This "extraordinary" skeleton of a woman buried in a seated position was discovered during an archaeological survey before the planned construction of a high-speed train track in central Germany, scientists said in a statement.

The woman, who lived in the early Bronze Age (roughly 2200 to 1600 B.C.), was found near the town of Bad Lauchstadt and is one of several burials found so far during the dig, which runs from September 2008 to June 2010.

"From an archaeological point of view, the excavation is a great chance to learn about the development of settlement on the Querfurter Platte," a geological plate between the Saale and Unstrut river valleys, according to Ralf Bockmann, a spokesperson for the Saxony-Anhalt Office for Monument Protection and Archaeology in Saale, Germany, via email.

For example, according to the statement, "the broad range of traces from ancient cultures and the number and quality of the individual finds show how important this region has been for thousands of years not just as a settlement area, but as a transport route."

Bockman added: "The region has fertile soils and has been used for settlement for a very long time. But until now there had been no large-scale excavations in that region."

A worker prepares a skeleton during an archaeological dig in Oechlitz, central Germany, which has revealed more than 55,000 objects, including grave goods and odd burials--hundreds of dog teeth, decorative shells, and metal jewelry, for example--German archaeologists said in October 2009.

Researchers have unearthed settlements and burial sites, most of them linked to the closely related Corded Ware and Bell Beaker cultures—both named for characteristic pottery types—from the latter part of the late Stone Age (roughly 2800 to 1800 B.C.) and the Unetice culture (named for a site in the Czech Republic) from the early Bronze Age (roughly 2200 to 1600 B.C.)

An early Bronze Age woman is buried with decorative shell beads in the town of Oechlitz--one of several burials found during an ongoing archaeological dig in central Germany, experts said in October 2009.

In addition to the small shell discs--worn as decoration on clothing--copper and amber jewelry with hundreds of dog teeth have been found in the burials, which span several thousand years, according to a statement from the Saxony-Anhalt Office for Monument Protection and Archaeology, translated into English by Spiegel Online.

Ornaments such as shell beads are among the first signs of the shift to modern human behavior, which occurred at least 82,000 years ago, previous research suggests.

A Slavic graveyard in the town of Oechlitz from the ninth or tenth centuries A.D. is one of the more recent discoveries made during the dig, which is the largest of its kind in Germany, according to Spiegel Online.

"Even though the bodies were laid with the head pointed west according to the Christian tradition," the presence of food remains and containers--evidence that physical sustenance was provided for the afterlife--"indicate that heathen traditions were also observed in furnishing the dead," according to a statement from the Saxony-Anhalt Office for Monument Protection and Archaeology, translated into English by Spiegel.

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