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Ancient Burial Grounds Dating Back 6,000 Years Discovered During Construction of German Semiconductor Facility

6,000-Year-Old Burial Landscape, Graves, Discovered in Germany
Source: State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

Archaeologists have discovered a Neolithic grave and a burial landscape in Germany ahead of the construction of two semiconductor plants.

Mar. 23 2024, Published 11:08 a.m. ET

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Ahead of the construction of two semiconductor plants by American chip company Intel in Germany, archaeologists have made significant discoveries, revealing a Neolithic grave and burial landscape.

Uncovered near Magdeburg, along the Elbe River, these findings shed light on ancient rituals and cultural practices.

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The site, encompassing a large industrial park, includes a small hill known as Eulenberg. Here, archaeologists unearthed two monument mounds concealing wooden grave chambers, dating back to the middle Neolithic period associated with the Baalberg culture (4100–3600 BC).

These chambers, measuring 65 and 98 feet in length respectively, contained multiple burials, including remnants of ancient rituals such as a "chariot grave,” according to CBS News.

One notable discovery was a grave featuring the burial of a 35-to-40-year-old man positioned in front of cattle burials, depicting a symbolic scene of a cart with a driver or plow pulled by cattle.

Such burials symbolized offering one's most valuable possession, cattle, to the gods, ensuring the security of livelihood.

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Approximately a thousand years later, archaeologists observed a deliberate modification in the landscape, where a 1.5-foot ditch replaced the original procession route, encompassing the larger of the two burial mounds within a three-hectare burial landscape.

Despite this alteration, the cattle burials remained intact, suggesting their continued significance over time.

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Xandra Dalidowski, the excavation manager, noted the presence of wooden mortuary houses on the site, piled with earth to form visible hills, Newsweek reported.

Archaeological investigations commenced in 2023, preceding Intel's construction plans, with a scheduled completion by April 2024, according to the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt.

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The German government's deal with Intel in June 2023 marked a significant foreign investment, with Germany providing a third of the construction costs, AFP reported.

Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck hailed this investment as the largest foreign direct investment in modern German history.

Additionally, Corded Ware Culture burial mounds dating from around 2800 to 2050 BC were discovered in close proximity, further enriching the archaeological significance of the area. LDA expressed excitement about the discoveries, anticipating further insights from subsequent analysis.

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