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The violent dawn of the Salzmuende Society around 3300 BC


Above the course of the river Saale the enclosure of Salzmuende presents itself proudly. Quite obvious it exudes power. With a size of 37 ha in particular and without internal palisades, it was more obviously a place exuding power rather than a stronghold or a simple stock enclosure. But it is not a stronghold. There are many elaborately built graves inside the complex, sometimes missing the head. Numerous human skulls, but also a horse and a red deer skull, red and roe deer antlers and cattle horns were found mainly in the inner ditch of the earthwork. Their deposition reflects only a short moment. But the radiocarbon data show different times of death amongst the individuals over a period of 300 years. What was going on? And who, in younger times, did rebury a complete collective grave belonging to the Bernburg cultural group (in the tradition of the Funnel Beaker culture), which was also found in the four miles long ditches? The site of Salzmuende illustrates the events of the second Neolithic revolution in the fourth millennium BC. During a threshold epoch, semi-peasant societies returned to their ancient cultured landscape and displaced the 2000 years old peasant cultures of "Danubian tradition". Osteological research illustrates that this site was a central place within the Salzmuende culture. Indeed, its central location in a very rich agro-pastoral environment was ideal not only for economic exchange, but also for symbolic manifestations. As for the monumental site, archaeozoological data show that the boundaries between the economic and symbolic sphere were not always clear to draw, more specifically both were even in interaction. The earthwork indicates the last gasp of a 2000 years old society and the introduction of a new era.
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hal-02093809 , version 1 (09-04-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02093809 , version 1


Suzanne Friederich, Svenja Höltkemeier. The violent dawn of the Salzmuende Society around 3300 BC. Exploring the World’s Prehistory, XVIIIe congrès mondial de l’Union internationale des sciences préhistoriques et protohistoriques (UISPP), Union internationale des sciences préhistoriques et protohistoriques (UISPP), Jun 2018, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02093809⟩
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