A 2,600-year-old Celtic tomb has been found by archaeologists excavating the ancient hill fort at Heuneburg, Germany. The 13-by-16-foot burial chamber is in an excellent state of preservation and still contains a treasury of gold and amber jewelry.
The jewelry allowed archaeologists to pinpoint a precise date, the first time they’ve been able to do so with early Celtic remains. It also strongly suggests that the tomb belonged to a noblewoman of the fort’s early period of Celtic habitation, the 7th century B.C. Further analysis of the burial chamber will be needed to confirm the date and owner.
This should be a lot easier for scientists since the entire tomb has been lifted out of the ground in one solid block of earth by two cranes, loaded on a specialized flatbed truck and transported tout entier to the lab of the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments in Stuttgart.
The Heuneburg hill fort site is one of the oldest settlements north of the Alps, and a major source of information about Iron Age Celtic culture at a time when wealth and population were increasing rapidly in a few population centers.
The Celtic citadel was first enclosed with a wood and earth wall in 700 B.C., a standard Celtic building technique. By 600 B.C., however, they had built a mudbrick wall over a limestone foundation almost 20 feet high. The mudbricks were painted in limestone plaster and must have been a very visible landmark in the area for the 70 years they lasted. There are no other similar such walls known in any Celtic settlements in central Europe of the time.