Almost 90 years ago, the remains of a “shaman woman” were discovered in the tourist resort of Bad Dürrenberg, Germany. The objects found in her tomb have amazed and fascinated archaeologists. Now researchers have made further discoveries at a site just 6 kilometers from where the “shaman woman” had been buried.
The “shaman woman” of 9000 years ago and her secrets
Archaeologists are discovering more and more fascinating things during the excavations taking place at a Mesolithic site in the area of Dehlitz, Germany, contemporary with the place where the tomb of the famous “shaman woman” was found, just 6 kilometers away.
Its discovery was made in 1934, during the construction of a park in the German city of Bad Dürrenberg. The woman was buried in an upright position, seated and wrapped in red clay, with a child aged between 6 and 12 months next to her, the age of the bones being dated as being around 9,000 years old.
Around her were the remains of an extraordinary helmet, fashioned from animal bones. The woman was also buried with arrows, quills and other hunting tools.
However, the presence of clay, which was used for the burial of persons of special status, as well as ornate headdresses, showed exactly who the woman was: a shaman of her people.
The “shaman woman” gave birth to a child and was 25-30 years old when she died. It was clear to the archaeologists that she had a very prestigious position among her people, and this was because the people of those times believed that she had a direct connection with the gods.
Her remains were put on display and can be seen at the Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), in a room designed to evoke the forests she would have known during her lifetime.
Where was it discovered, what else did archaeologists find near it
But archaeologists continue to dig in the area near Dehlitz, which is considered one of the richest Mesolithic sites in Central Europe. Over the past five years, volunteer archaeologist Wolfgang Bernhardt has collected over 6,000 stone artefacts, an exceptional amount for a site of that period.
Since August of this year, archaeologists from the State Office for Archeology and Cultural Heritage Management of Saxony-Anhalt have been investigating the site again. So far, I have created eight excavation areas, each with a surface area of one square meter, which goes down to the underground layers.
Specialists found numerous stone tools and fragments of antlers and bones, but also a large amount of microliths – small stone tools usually used for starting fire. Even if few, the presence of scrapers suggests a temporary habitation of the area, which was most likely used as a hunting ground.
Given the proximity to the tomb of the “shaman women”, but also the wealth and similarity of objects found, archaeologists believe that the two sites can be connected.
“For the first time, the archaeological site at Dehlitz provides a more detailed look at the lifestyle of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer people in the region around Bad Dürrenberg,” said Dr. Oliver Dietrich of the State Office for Archeology and Management Cultural Heritage of Saxony-Anhalt, in a statement.
In fact, the museum in Halle, which houses the discoveries from the tomb of the “shaman women”, along with her remains, has produced a series of documentary films on this topic.