Neolithic crouch burial found in Brandenburg

The skeleton of a woman buried in a crouched position has been discovered in Uckermark, northeastern Germany. Archaeologists with the Brandenburg State Office for the Preservation of Monuments were excavating the site of a new wind turbine when they discovered the crouch burial.

She had been placed on her right side, her knees bent to her chest, her head facing north. Her grave was not in a burial ground, but rather next to a settlement. No grave goods have survived. The exact date of the burial has not been established yet, but archaeologists believe she was buried between 2,200 and 2,500 B.C., the late Neolithic period.

“I’ve never made a find like this before,” [archaeologist Philipp] Roskoschinski, who owns the archaeological firm Archaeros, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

He and his colleague believe that this indicates the woman was purposefully positioned this way and was not simply put in the grave.

Researchers are now carrying out tests to get a better idea of how old the skeleton is as well as how the woman died.

“Unfortunately, there were no other finds in the grave that could tell us more about the woman’s life,” Roskoschinski told Tagesspiegel newspaper. “But the site was lovingly surrounded by fieldstones.”


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Comment by Jim
2020-05-23 14:05:32

Why does it strike me so funny that Roskoschinski and his colleague believe that their never having found anything like this before indicates that the body was purposefully positioned as it was, and that it is possible to determine the positioning of fieldstones as “loving”?

Comment by Peter
2020-05-24 00:16:43

Just in case, there would indeed be a certain discrepancy in between getting “lovingly surrounded by fieldstones” or being lovingly “stoned to death”.

Moreover, there seems to be some sort of circular structure, but with the other semicircle still buried. The crouched position, however, indicates a loving burial.

Surviving grave goods probably would have made those things a bit more obvious. Maybe the grave goods are in the other semicircle ;)

Comment by Jim
2020-05-24 08:19:56

Combined with a V-shape, the two semi-circles might form a heart – a loving memorial!

Comment by Reziac
2020-05-24 10:36:22

It could just as well be a case of: If you fold up the corpse, you can dig a smaller hole (digging with ancient tools is hard work), and if you ring it (more likely it started as a covering) with fieldstones, the foxes won’t dig it back up. Why does archeology never consider the practical?

Comment by Heather Campbell
2020-05-24 12:39:16

Every time I read the headline, I read it as “Neolithic Couch” found. For a split second I think, I know they didn’t had couches way back then. Then I read it again and go, oh right. Crouch. Amazing what your mind makes you see, lol.

Comment by Jim
2020-05-24 16:52:48

I remember, in spite of grieving the loss, being somewhat angry at my Labrador retriever for assuming such an expansive pose as rigor mortis set in. What a hole I had to dog. I mean dig.

Comment by Trevor
2020-05-25 05:12:58

Breathe deeply and repeat the archaeological mantra three times:

“If I do not understand: it must be for ritual purposes.
If I cannot prove something: it must be for ritual purposes.
If I have no ready answer: it must be for ritual purposes.”

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October 2020


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