Cremation burial containing bronze ornaments and rare surviving textile fragments was found in an Early Iron Age (800-550 BC) burial ground in Hallstatt, Austria. The grave goods found in the burial include coiled discs of bronze wire placed over cremated remains, which were probably brooches (large brooches used to fasten clothes), a massive ribbed wrist bracelet, and a bronze knife blade with fragments of a wooden handle. still attached is a piece of sheet iron from a belt buckle and an animal bone from a food offering.
The finds were packed tightly into the grave, and only when the objects were separated and carefully examined did archaeologists recognize the surviving traces of fabric on the underside of the spiral discs. This may be the first archaeological evidence that textile pouches were used to store cremated remains at burial. Urns were used in other cemeteries of the period, but are very rare in the Hallstatt burial ground. However, the cremated remains are so compact that archaeologists have long suspected they were buried in organic bags whose fabric or skin has decomposed over millennia.
Hallstatt is a salt mine site that attracted seasonal visitors as early as 7,000 years ago during the Neolithic. They tried to extract salt using antler picks and stone axes, but systematic salt mining began in the 16th century BC. Age, one of the Late Iron Age.
High in the Salzberg valley is a mine-related burial ground, which is one of the most important prehistoric burial grounds in Europe. The burial ground was in use from 850 BC. until about 350 BC Luxury goods imported from all over the known world were buried with dead, evidence of the great wealth and far-reaching trade relations generated by salt mining in Hallstatt. The diversity, quality and originality of the artefacts found there prompted researchers to use “Hallstatt” as the name of a culture and a whole period of European prehistory (8th-5th centuries BC).
The Iron Age burial ground was first discovered in 1846 by Johann Georg Ramsauer, a salt mine director who had worked there since he was a 13-year-old apprentice and rose through the ranks to become a bergmeister (mining master) by age. out of 36. Then, having discovered the first grave in a gravel pit, with zero training and education, he turned into a meticulous casual archaeologist. From 1846 to 1863 he supervised the excavations of the Hallstatt cemetery and documented everything he found with incredibly detailed watercolors.
Over 17 years of excavation, Ramsauer and his team unearthed 980 graves containing nearly 20,000 items. He thought they had found everything there was to find, but new graves were unearthed in the 1930s, and the Natural History Museum has discovered much more since it began its annual excavation of the burial ground in 1992. Today there are more than 1500 graves. have been excavated and documented, and the discovery of the last grave suggests that the burial site is even larger than previously thought. Archaeologists estimate that there may be another 4000-5000 unexplored graves at this site.