Raising a stone – revealing a secret?


This summer, archaeologists from Kiel University are undertaking a field campaign at the Küsterberg near Hundisburg (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany). In cooperation with Saxony-Anhalt’s State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology, they are excavating a megalithic tomb dating from the early Neolithic.

Members of THW prepare the capstone for being raised by an excavator.

In mid-July, a special moment occurred when, with support from the Agency for Technical Relief (Technisches Hilfswerk), the 2.5 ton capstone was lifted. As a result of this effort, the chamber of the tomb can now be examined. The researchers are especially seeking ceramic remains from Funnel Beaker societies. The megalith is situated near the river Beber, which marks the border between a moraine landscape to the north and loess soils to the south.

The excavator is raising the capstone.

Around 5,500 BC, the first farmers reached this area from the banks of the Danube. The change they brought was immense: Sedentism, agriculture and livestock breeding were all innovations at the beginning of the Neolithic. The excavation is part of the DFG priority programme 1400 “Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation”. Our colleague Christoph Rinne and his team of 15 students from the Institute for Pre- and Protohistory at Kiel University are supported by Kay Schmütz, member of the Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes”, who is writing his PhD thesis on the construction of social space in this landscape during the Neolithic.

Text: Jirka Niklas Menke; Photos: Johannes Müller