The ring sanctuary of Pömmelte (Germany) of the late third millennium BC

Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 08:32 am
Did women, children and young people have to die in a field in Saxony-Anhalt for a bigger idea? In the thousands of years old Ring Shrine of Pömmelte, archaeologists have at least found concrete indications of how they report in the trade journal "Antiquity".

The complex once consisted of more than 1200 logs arranged in huge circles. Therefore, there were also several concentric earth walls and pits. The plant had a total diameter of 115 meters.

Why this Ring Shrine was built about 4300 years ago is not known, because people in Central Europe did not know scripture at that time.
However, it was a very exciting time. A new material had just arrived: bronze - the end of the Stone Age had come.

Because copper and tin could only be mined in certain regions, extensive trading networks developed over the centuries, spanning the whole of Europe. The people apparently exchanged not only goods but also ideas via these routes.

The ring sanctuary of Pömmelte is an excellent example of this, because its construction resembles the famous megalith plant of Stonehenge. "Scientifically, Pömmelte is as important as Stonehenge. Both systems belong to the same time, looked similar and had a comparable function," says the archaeologist André Spatzier to SPIEGEL.

Stonehenge seems more imposing today, however, because it was built of stone and thus survived the millennia, while of the circular ditch in Pömmelte only circular traces remained in the alluvial sand of the nearby Elbe.
"Such circular ditches were built in the early Neolithic and can be found in large parts of Europe until the Bronze Age," says Spatzier.

At least seven people found their final resting place in the shafts. All of them are women, children and young people.

The marks on the bones are evidence of brutal murders. For example, some skeletons have severe skull and rib injuries that could be caused by axe blows. Others lack whole limbs, in one case even both arms and legs.

The researchers also suspect that at least one of the children was tied up when it was thrown into the pit. His left arm was stretched out at an unnatural angle over his whole body, so that the two wrists lay directly on top of each other. "The position of the bones indicates that the bodies were thrown into the shafts," says Spatzier.

Whether they were murdered to sacrifice them is impossible to answer today. For example, they could have been killed in a robbery. "But we can certainly say that the dead bodies at the latest had a ritual meaning and were therefore thrown into the shafts with the other ritual objects," Spatzier argues.

The women and children are not the only ones buried in the Shrine. Along the outer ring in the eastern part of the complex there are also 13 graves of young men between the ages of 17 and 30. Their skeletons have no injuries, and their corpses have not been thrown carelessly into shafts, but carefully placed in grave pits.

"We assume that the dead were outstanding personalities," says Spatzier. Why men were treated differently from the corpses of women and children, who from today's point of view were disposed of without reverence, the archaeologists cannot say. "In Pömmelte, however, we were able to prove ritual acts at a sanctuary of this kind for about 400 years," said Spatzier.

The sinking of the ditch is as enigmatic as the fate of the people buried there. What is certain is that around 2050 BC all piles were pulled out of the ground and burned. This shows a layer of earth and wood ash up to 40 centimetres thick, which the archaeologists discovered in the entire moat of the monument.

In this phase, human bones again landed in some of the pits. The archaeologists discovered five skulls from that time. Where the rest of the bodies have gone remains a mystery. Spatzier assumes that the skulls could have been trophies or the mortal remains of important ancestors. "Perhaps the cult skulls were buried because the shrine was also dismantled and symbolically buried."

Translated and slightly copy edited from spiegel-online
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 08:34 am
@Walter Hinteler,





Source for photos: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt via spiegel-online (see link above)
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 08:35 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Antiquity (Volume 92, Issue 363 June 2018 , pp. 655-673): The ring sanctuary of Pömmelte, Germany: a monumental, multi-layered metaphor of the late third millennium BC[/url[quote]Abstract:
Religion, social identity and social formation processes are topics of great interest to the archaeological community. Regarding the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age monuments of Central Europe, evidence from recent excavations at the Pömmelte enclosure in Central Germany suggests that circular or henge-like enclosures were monumental sanctuaries that served as venues for communal gatherings, ritual activities and performance. We suggest that such enclosures represent complex metaphors, possibly representing cosmological geographies, and that they also played important roles as communal structures in local identity formation and social regulation.[/quote]

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Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 09:48 am
Thank you Walter, very illuminating.
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Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 10:32 am
I may be wrong, but one big difference between Pommelte and Stonehenge is that Hawkwind have never played Pommelte.

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Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 10:51 am
There have been more than one wood henge uncovered in the island of Britain, as well as more than one stone henge. Fascinatin' stuff, Walter.
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Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 08:15 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Cassitterite , an oxide of beta tin, was the easiest tin ore to spot and to smelt. I have a series of specimens from Bad Schandau(??) which is ner the Czech border .The ore was usually a purplish color nd "Stuck out in alluvial deposits.(It would get "plucked out" of the mother granitic feldpars and quartzes and big melon size goobers could be found . Germany and todays Czech Republic were areas that were well known as major tin locations. Copper was available, but some of the best came from UK as "native" (pure) copper crystals. The stuff could be smelted and amalgamated by chimpanzees . Trial and error gave em the best (hardest) Mix ratios and they were off to the races.

Neat metal, bronze, lotsa tracking and sourcing can be done by todays modern isotope metallurgy tricks. We can tell pretty much which side of the county the ores came from, and copper and minor deposits of Sn, found in UK contained a bit of silver and bismuth, (the UK Cu had some gold in the xl structure too) so EDAX Xrays, and MAss Spec, by isotope and allotrope potting) can give us a fairly good road map of where the ores came from.

I love this kind of archeo technology and forensics crap. Like natures fingerprints let us know who was busy making better tools and when.

ARe they going to do any forensic style work with the childrens remains? seems like a bronze age cold case
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2018 10:01 pm
farmerman wrote:
ARe they going to do any forensic style work with the childrens remains? seems like a bronze age cold case
Yes, that's an ongoing project.
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Reply Fri 6 Jul, 2018 09:42 am
@Walter Hinteler,

(I have no way to tag items any more, so I have to say something, like “interesting” to keep it on my reading list) Smile
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