Gießhübel/Talhau Celtic Burial Mound
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 48° 05.843 E 009° 24.332
32U E 530193 N 5327203
Quick Description: Just 400m northwest of the Heuneburg is a group of four monumental burial mounds in the Giessuebel parcel and the Talhau forest tract.
Location: Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Date Posted: 4/6/2007 1:25:23 PM
Waymark Code: WM1CPH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
Views: 112

Long Description:
The burial mounds have a diameter of close to 50m and are preserved to a height of up to 7m. When two of these mounds were leveled in 1876, the discovery of spectacular grave goods stimulated interest in these monuments.

The subsequent excavations uncovered burials in large wooden chambers. Unfortunately, the excavated graves had already been looted, so only relatively few fragments hinted at the extent of the original burial assemblages.

Three burial mounds in this tumulus group were completely excavated between 1954 and 1989 over the course of several field seasons. These excavations revealed that the burial mounds had been erected immediately on top of the remnants of a repeatedly rebuilt so-called suburbium, or outer settlement associated with the Heuneburg hillfort. On the basis of the associated finds, this outer settlement was first inhabited at the same time as the Heuneburg hillfort, around 600 BC. It was probably abandoned when the Iron Age hillfort was destroyed, although only the Giessuebel-Talhau portion seems to have been initially abandoned as early as the second half of the 6th century BC. A tumulus cemetery was established in its place which was used as a burial place until the final occupation phase of the Iron Age Heuneburg.

The central chamber of Tumulus 1 was 3.5x5.5m in size and had been dug about 1m below the contemporary surface. An approximately 50 year old male individual had been interred in the chamber, which also contained the skeletal remains of two female individuals. When the burial was looted only weapons, bronze ornaments, gold clothing appliques and amber platelets were left behind. The latter probably belonged to a couch produced in the Greek Mediterranean. After the deposition of the central burial the tumulus seems to have been piled up to a height of about 6m and was used as a burial place for at least 20 additional individuals.

Tumulus 2 also contained a subsurface central burial chamber, though significantly smaller at 2.5x3m, and containing the skeletal remains of only two individuals. Four bronze plates and a large bronze vessel suggest the presence of a secondary burial in the mound which was destroyed in 1876 without being recognized.

The central burial chamber of Tumulus 4 contained a single individual. Only scant remnants of the sheet iron attachments from a four-wheeled wagon and a bronze belt plate were left behind by the looters. In this case the exact time of the looting episode can be more accurately estimated. The corpse was not yet completely decomposed when it was moved to the side during the looting of the chamber, that is, though redeposited, the bones were still partly articulated. This means that the tomb must have been robbed at most 30 years after the burial was sealed.

The burial mounds in the Giessuebel-Talhau were undoubtedly erected as monuments to elite personages of considerable importance in the community.

This assumption is supported by the elaborate burial constructions in the form of massive wooden chambers as well as the monumental size of the mounds which were erected over these chambers. In addition, the graves contained unusually extensive grave good assemblages including wagons, furniture and bronze vessels; occasionally richly decorated functional items or luxurious prestige goods are found.

Following their complete excavation the tumuli were reerected to their original size with circular ditches and or stone or palisade circles around their bases. Only one mound has been left in its original condition, with clear traces of the 1877 excavations testifying to the birth of prehistoric archaeology in this area.
Admission Fee (local currency): Free

Opening days/times:
24 x 7

Web Site: [Web Link]

Condition: Fully Reconstructed

Visit Instructions:
No special requirements.
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