Archaeologists In Germany Discovered Two 6,000-Year-Old Burial Mounds Separated By What Was Likely A Ceremonial Walkway, Shedding Light On Funerary Rituals During The Neolithic Era

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At a site where Intel, an American technology company, is planning to build two new factories, several prehistoric burials were unearthed, revealing a piece of the past. The site is located in the German municipality of Eulenberg near the city of Magdeburg.

Archaeologists from the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology of Saxony-Anhalt (LDA) have been digging at the site since last year. The area is considered a “complex burial landscape” that dates back to the Neolithic period, otherwise known as the New Stone Age.

The researchers have found two 6,000-year-old burial mounds that were about 650 feet away from each other. They were built above grave chambers made out of wood, and each of which contained several burials.

The two mounds were separated by a long corridor that was likely used as a ceremonial walkway. The construction of the mounds can be traced back to the Baalberg culture of the Middle Neolithic, and they lived in Germany between 4100 and 3600 B.C.

“There were wooden mortuary houses for the deceased on the grounds. They were piled up with earth to form hills that were visible from a distance,” said the excavation manager, Xandra Dalidowski.

Another burial from 1,000 years later was discovered in between the two mounds. Out of all the discoveries that were made in Magdeburg, one of them really stood out.

From that burial, the researchers identified the remains of a pair of cattle that were about two to three years old. They had died in a sacrificial ritual and were buried next to each other.

Additionally, the grave of a 35 to 40-year-old man was uncovered in front of the young cattle. The positioning of the animal and human remains is reminiscent of a driver on a cart or plow being pulled by the cattle.

“Our ancestors recreated a scene from their lives here, a team of cattle with the coachman behind them,” said archaeologist Susanne Friedrich. “They gave the most precious thing to the gods: cattle, the guarantor of life.”

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