3 December 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

Spectacular gold find from early medieval tombs in Basel

An excavation in Basel’s Kleinbasel neighborhood, Switzerland, has uncovered 15 graves, some richly furnished, from an early medieval burial ground.

Because the presence of a burial ground from this time period had been known since the nineteenth century, a rescue archaeology excavation was carried out in the area prior to the installation of new utility pipes. The excavation earlier this year unearthed the 6th-century grave of a young girl buried with a dazzling array of approximately 160 beads.

Of the tombs with valuable additions, the most notable is the discovery of a golden robe clasp from a woman’s grave.

The grave is that of an elite young woman who was about 20 years old when she died in the 7th century. The woman’s skeleton was accidentally destroyed during construction work in the 20th century, and the jewelry remained undiscovered at the time.

The grave contained a rare gold disc brooch made of a non-ferrous metal base plate topped with gold. The disc was then inlaid with green garnet gemstones and blue glass and adorned with gold wire filigree. The brooch most likely held a cloak, now lost, around her neck.

The jewelry in the graves, including many beads, indicates a high social status. Photo: Georgios Kefalas

The grave decorations suggest that the woman had a higher social status. She was also discovered wearing 160 pearls and Roman coins as jewelry.

Other graves with valuable gifts were discovered by the archaeologists. They also discovered a girl’s grave containing a gold-tufted belt buckle and 380 pearls. Another boy’s grave contained silver inlaid belt fittings, among other things.

“This is an extraordinary piece,” said Basel canton archaeologist Guido Lassau to the media on Friday. Such finds are “rather singular” in early medieval graves.

Recent discoveries show that the cemetery was more densely populated than archaeologists previously thought.

Basel’s earliest settlement remnants date back to the middle Paleolithic (about 130,000 years ago). The Rhine’s banks, the area of the former gas factory (now the Novartis Campus), and Münsterhügel stood out as the primary settlement areas during the Bronze and Iron Ages. The Murus Gallicus (Gallic Wall), whose remnants can still be seen close to the Münster, was built by the Celts (Rauraci) in the first century BC to fortify the latter area (cathedral). At the same location, the Romans built the Colonia Raurica, which they later expanded into a castle in the third century. The Augusta Raurica colony («Roman City» Augst BL) founded by Emperor Augustus Caesar marks the official start of the Romanization of the area. After the withdrawal of Roman troops, the Roman population settled in the fort, while the Alemanni spread out to the north of the Rhine and also in Augst.

Related Articles

In Poland, a 45-meter-long mysterious tunnel found under the ruins of the Saxon Palace

9 September 2023

9 September 2023

A mysterious underground tunnel was found under the ruins of the Saski Palace in Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, the capital...

Traces of a 3,600-year-old settlement have been discovered in Qatar’s desert

8 February 2022

8 February 2022

Researchers looking for underground water sources on the Eastern Arabian Peninsula have accidentally uncovered the outlines of a settlement that...

World-first recreation of ancient Egyptian garden open

20 May 2022

20 May 2022

Have you ever wondered what an ancient Egyptian garden was like?  This is your opportunity to find out! The first...

Remains of painkillers were found in 4500-year-old vessels during excavations at Küllüoba Höyük in Turkey

20 September 2022

20 September 2022

In the excavations of the Early Bronze Age Küllüoba Höyük (Kulluoba Mound) in Eskişehir, where the first urbanization structure of...

An 1800-year-old inscription was discovered in Hadrianaupolis indicating the existence of the Asclepius cult

5 September 2022

5 September 2022

An inscription pointing to the existence of the cult of Asclepius was found in the ancient city of Hadrianaupolis, which...

Using Algorithms, Researchers Reassemble Jewish Text Lost Centuries Ago

27 January 2022

27 January 2022

Using new technology, researchers were able to comb a 19th-century text for the original study of a Bible interpretation attributed...

Extraordinary discovery for the Western Baltic Sea region: a 400-year-old shipwreck Found at Bottom of German River

3 August 2022

3 August 2022

During a routine measurement at Trave, near Lübeck, in the northern part of Germany,  Kiel-Holtenau Waterways and Shipping Authority (Wasserstraßen-...

Rock Ship of Masuda, Japan’s mysterious monolith

17 April 2023

17 April 2023

Located in the Takaichi District of Nara Prefecture, Japan, the village of Asuka is famous for its mysterious stones. The...

The first Iberian lead plate inscribed with an archaic script was found at Pico de Los Ajos in Yátova

13 June 2021

13 June 2021

At the Pico de Los Ajos site in Valencia, Spain, a rare lead sheet engraved in ancient Iberian was unearthed....

Tens of Thousands of Ancient Bronze Coins Dating from the 4th Century Discovered Off Sardinia

4 November 2023

4 November 2023

A diver spotted something metallic at the bottom of the sea off the town of Arzachena in the Sassari province...

‘Dinosaur dance floor’ dating back 80 million years found in China

20 April 2021

20 April 2021

In China, researchers have found many dinosaur footprints in an area of 1,600 square meters described in the literature as...

Volunteer archaeologists discovered a 1900-year-old silver military decoration in Vindolanda

17 June 2023

17 June 2023

Volunteer archaeologists have discovered a 1900-year-old military decoration (Phalera) that was awarded to distinguished soldiers and troops in the Roman...

A Polish diplomat in Turkey has unravels the enigma of a long-lost ancient city

31 January 2022

31 January 2022

Robert D. Rokicki, a diplomat in the Polish embassy in Ankara used a unique method of “histracking” to find the...

Archaeologists Reconstruct the Face of a 7th-Century Anglo-Saxon Woman Buried with “Trumpington Cross”

21 June 2023

21 June 2023

In a remarkable archaeological discovery near Cambridge, England, the face of a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon woman buried with a rare gold...

A 2600-year-old Clay Pot was Repurposed As Trash Bin in An Iranian Museum

13 November 2023

13 November 2023

A clay pot dating back to the 2600-year-old Medes period is now serving as a trash bin in a museum...