среда, 26 февраля 2020 г.

New findings on the Early Neolithic in Wurttemberg, Germany

New settlement structures were discovered during research excavations by the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments (LAD) in the Stuttgart Regional Council and the University of Tubingen in the area of a large settlement of the oldest rural culture in Central Europe (Linear Pottery, 2nd half of the 6th millennium BC) near Ammerbuch-Pfaffingen. Current scientific analyses of the finds obtained during the excavations provide new insights into the beginning of agriculture and livestock breeding in southwestern Germany. The associated sedentary way of life provides the basis for the development of incisive new cultural techniques that shape our lives today, including the production of ceramics and textiles and finally the development of the wheel and cart in a later phase of the Neolithic period .

New findings on the Early Neolithic in Wurttemberg, Germany
Burial of a 30- to 40-year-old woman from the early Neolithic period, who was buried in a
left-handed squatting position [Credit: L. Brandtstatter/Uni Tubingen, LAD]

On the basis of geomagnetic measurements, a ditch system was identified for the first time in the "Lusse" corridor on the north-western outskirts of Ammerbuch-Pfaffingen, which surrounded large parts of a Neolithic settlement during the Early Neolithic period. Although such settlement enclosures are typical for Neolithic settlements, they have not yet been detected in the Neckar area.

Due to the ongoing archaeological excavations, which are being conducted under the direction of Professor Dr. Raiko Krauß, Institute for Pre- and Early History and Archaeology of the Middle Ages at the University of Tubingen, and Dr. Jorg Bofinger of the LAD, it was possible to determine the layout of a ditch dating to the beginning of the 5th millennium BC. The filling of this settlement perimeter with the rubble of burnt down houses and with large quantities of charred cereal grains, primarily emmer and einkorn, indicate a decisive event during the early phase of the Neolithic village.

During the course of the 5th millennium BC, the settlement area was apparently also used as a burial ground. During the excavations of the previous year, the grave of a three- to four-year-old girl was identified, who was buried in a niche within the ditch in a squatting position. The skull of another person also emerged from the backfilling of the ditch. During the excavation campaign in spring this year (2019), the grave of a woman who died between the ages of 30 and 40 was discovered and documented. On the basis of radiocarbon measurements, the age of this burial can now also be placed in the 52nd century BC.

New findings on the Early Neolithic in Wurttemberg, Germany
Limestone beads from a necklace [Credit: M. Korolnik, University of Tubingen]

The deceased wore a necklace of 16 small, double-conical marble-like limestone beads on her neck. These beads were not known in this form from the early Neolithic period in southern Germany and are evidence of the high level of craftsmanship and care in jewellery making. On a wider scale, however, these beads can be compared with finds from the Carpathian Basin and the Balkan region, i.e. the areas from which the first farmers migrated to Central Europe with their domestic animals and cultivated plants.

Genetic analyses of human skeletal material confirm that the process of settling in Central Europe is largely due to the immigration of a new population group. The role played by the indigenous Mesolithic population, who demonstrably lived in the region for a very long time as hunter-gatherers, but who did not adopt the newly introduced farming practices, will be the subject of further investigations in the vicinity of the Neolithic settlement.

From the Neolithic settlement remains a series of new radiocarbon dating (14C) has been established, which together with the evaluation of the material finds provides the basis for a development model of the settlement sequence in the region. The reconstruction of the settlement history of the first sedentary population groups in the Upper Neckar and Ammer valleys exemplifies the neolithization of Central Europe and helps to understand how our present way of life was able to assert itself in cultural history.

Source: Universitat Tubingen [trsl. TANN, February 15, 2020]

* This article was originally published here

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