Coins, weapons, gems and other valuables are often found in ancient burials of notable figures, but archaeologists have recently discovered a truly rare tomb: a folding metal chair.
Made of an iron frame, the medieval chair measures approximately 28 x 18 inches (70 x 45 cm) when folded and was found by a team of Archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for Archeology Protection (BLfD) last month in Endsee, a village in southeastern Germany.
Hubert Wehr, an archaeologist at BLfD, told Live Science that the chair dates back to around 600 AD and is linked to the burial of a woman who died in her 40s or 50s.
“While it is still early post-excavation for us to know the identity of the woman, we do know that she had a high social standing, as evidenced by the graves found at the burial site,” Fehr said.
Although only the metal part of the chair survives, it is likely that it was built using other materials, such as wood and leather, he said. that X ray The chair can reveal additional details about its construction.
“The iron of the chair is covered with layers of wear, and sometimes inside these layers you will find bits of wood and leather that have survived,” he said.
In general, chair burials are incredibly rare, since only one other known tomb was found in Germany; Across Europe, 29 early medieval cemeteries have burials with chairs, but only six are built of iron. Since these benches are often built from organic materials such as wood, ivory, leather, or fabric, the only surviving elements are often the nails that hold them together or metal frames.
Because of the rarity and symbolism of chairs, researchers consider these funeral goods to be “special gifts,” according to one translator statement (Opens in a new tab).
“[The folding chair] It had a very specific symbolic meaning during antiquity and was used as a sign or sign of power for bishops, priests, officers and other people of high social rank, who were mostly men in patriarchal Germany.” The burials found are associated with female tombs, indicating the association of women. with this general language of symbols relating to signs of strength.”
In addition to the chair, the site contained a range of other funeral merchandise, including a pearl necklace that had small multicolored glass beads wrapped around SkeletonBelt neck with multiple pins. Spindle winder is used to manually spin yarns; An animal bone, probably from a cow’s rib, likely served as an offering for meat.
Finally, a large glass bead with a millefiore pattern, meaning it was speckled with different colors of glass that fused together, helped archaeologists estimate the date of the burial.
“Most of the beads were made of glass during that time period, but the patterns changed rapidly regarding their color and shape,” he said. “Yellow was used mainly around AD 600.”
The researchers also discovered that a man was buried next to the woman. Although the man’s identity is also unknown, he was buried with a full array of weapons, including a spear, shield, and shovel; The leg comb is most likely used in sheep’s care; and a waistband with a bronze buckle and belt pouch, according to the statement.
The researchers plan to x-ray the chair soon to see if it reveals any clues to the woman’s identity and construction of the chair.
Originally published on Live Science.