Category Archives: SWITZERLAND

Celtic woman found buried inside a TREE ‘wearing fancy clothes and jewellery’ after 2,200 years

Celtic woman found buried inside a TREE ‘wearing fancy clothes and jewellery’ after 2,200 years

The ancient corpse of a woman buried in a hollowed-out tree in Zurich, Switzerland. Pictured are parts of her remains including her skull (top), as well as her jewellery (a blue, bottom)

It’s believed the woman, who died 2,200 years ago, commanded great respect in her tribe, as she was buried in fine clothes and jewellery.

Scientists say the woman was Celtic. The Iron Age Celts are known to have buried members of their tribe in “tree coffins” buried deep underground.

The woman’s remains were found in the city of Zurich in 2017, according to Live Science.

Bedecked in a fine woolen dress and shawl, sheepskin coat, and a necklace made of glass and amber beads, researchers believe she performed little if any hard labor while she was alive. It’s estimated she was around 40 years old when she died, with an analysis of her teeth indicating a substantial sweet tooth.

Adorned in bronze bracelets and a bronze belt chain with iron clasps and pendants, this woman was not part of low social strata. Analysis of her bones showed she grew up in what is now modern-day Zurich, likely in the Limmat Valley.

Most impressive, besides her garments and accessories, is the hollowed-out tree trunk so ingeniously fixed into a coffin. It still had the exterior bark intact when construction workers stumbled upon it, according to the initial 2017 statement from Zurich’s Office of Urban Development.

While all of the immediate evidence — an Iron Age Celtic woman’s remains, her bewildering accessories, and clothing, the highly creative coffin — is highly interesting on its own, researchers have discovered a lot more to delve into since 2017.

The excavation site at the Kernschulhaus (Kern school) in Aussersihl, Zurich. The remains were found on March 2017, with results of all testing now shedding light on the woman’s life.

According to The Smithsonian, the site of discovery has been considered an archaeologically important place for quite some time. Most of the previous finds here, however, only date back as far as the 6th century A.D.

The only exception seems to have occurred when construction workers found the grave of a Celtic man in 1903. They were in the process of building the school complex’s gym, the Office of Urban Development said when they discovered the man’s remains buried alongside a sword, shield, and lance.

Researchers are now strongly considering that, because the Celtic woman’s remains were found a mere 260 feet from the man’s burial place, they probably knew each other.

Experts have claimed that both figures were buried in the same decade, an assertion that the Office of Urban Development said it was “quite possible.”

The Office of Urban Development said the woman’s necklace was “unique in its form: it is fastened between two brooches (garment clips) and decorated with precious glass and amber beads.”

Though archaeologists previously found evidence that a Celtic settlement dating to the 1st century B.C. lived nearby, researchers are rather confident that the man found in 1903 and the woman found in 2017 belonged to a smaller, separate community that has yet to be entirely discovered.

The department’s 2017 press release stated that researchers would initiate a thorough assessment of the grave and its contents, and by all accounts, they’ve done just that.

Archaeologists salvaged and conserved any relevant items and materials, exhaustively documented their research, and conducted both physical and isotope-based examinations on the woman.

Most impressive to experts was the woman’s necklace, which had rather impressive clasps on either end.

The office said that its concluded assessment “draws a fairly accurate picture of the deceased” and the community in which she lived. The isotope analysis confirmed that she was buried in the same area she grew up in.

The amber beads and brooches belonging to the woman’s decorative necklace being carefully recovered from the soil.

While the Celts are usually thought of as being indigenous to the British Isles, they lived in many different parts of Europe for hundreds of years. Several clans settled in Austria and Switzerland, as well as other regions north of the Roman Empire.

Interestingly enough, from 450 B.C. to 58 B.C. — the exact same timeframe that the Celtic woman and man were buried — a “wine-guzzling, gold-designing, poly/bisexual, naked-warrior-battling culture” called La Tène flourished in Switzerland’s Lac de Neuchâtel region.

That is until Julius Caesar launched an invasion of the area and began his conquest of western and northern Europe. Ultimately, it seems the Celtic woman received a rather kind and caring burial and left Earth with her most treasured belongings by her side.

5,000-Year-Old Copper Ax Found in Switzerland

5,000-Year-Old Copper Ax Found in Switzerland

Apart from a few scratches, the 2.6-inch-long (6.5 centimeters) blade is undamaged.
Apart from a few scratches, the 2.6-inch-long (6.5 centimeters) blade is undamaged.

Archaeologists discovered a copper blade in Switzerland that’s just like the ax Ötzi the famous “Iceman” was carrying when he died. Like Ötzi’s ax, this tool was made with copper that came from 100’s of miles away, in present-day Tuscany in central Italy.

The discovery could shed light on Copper Age connections across Europe. Bad fortune eventually made Ötzi the Iceman more famous. About 5,300 years back, he was shot with an arrow, struck in the head and left to die near a mountain pass high in the Alps.

Until 1991, when hikers near the Italian-Austrian border discovered his body, he was buried in a glacier. Ötzi is Europe’s oldest mummy, and scientists studied almost every aspect of his life and death, from his tattoos and tools to his diet and DNA.

Among the equipment Ötzi carried was an ax of almost pure copper, remarkable because its wooden handle and leather straps were still preserved. This past summer, researchers traced the source of the metal in Ötzi’s ax to southern Tuscany, which came as a surprise to them.

The huge mountains of the Alps were thought to be a “neat cultural barrier” separating the metal trade, the authors of that study wrote in the journal PLOS One; people living around the Alps at that time were believed to have gotten their copperlocally or from the Balkans.

Now, archeologists in Switzerland report finding another blade on the northern foot of the Alps with the same make as Ötzi’s.

A reconstruction of the village Zug-Riedmatt, where the copper ax was found, as it looked more than 5,000 years ago.
A reconstruction of the village Zug-Riedmatt, where the copper ax was found, as it looked more than 5,000 years ago.

The ax was discovered in Zug-Riedmatt, one of the many pile-dwelling villages around the Alps that are famous for their prehistoric wooden houses built on stilts on lake shores and other wetlands.”

It was a very efficient general-purpose ax, especially proper for woodworking,” said Gishan Schaeren, an archaeologist with the Office for Monuments and Archaeology in the Swiss canton (or state) of Zug. But in addition to chopping trees to build stilted houses, people could use this axs as lethal weapons, Schaeren added.

The newfound blade was between 5,300 and 5,100 years old and missing its wooden handle. It was about half the weight of Ötzi’s blade and shorter, but the same shape. By measuring the traces of lead in the blade, Schaeren and his colleagues could link the copper to the same source in southern Tuscany.”

Mainstream research normally does not consider the possibility of intense contacts between south and north in the Alps”

A view of the excavation where the blade was found in 2008.
A view of the excavation where the blade was found in 2008

Schaeren thinks that Copper Age people should be given more credit.” We have to consider that people who traveled in the Alps had a very profound knowledge of the landscape and its conditions due to their experience with hunting, herding and exploring natural resources in these areas,” he said.

Stronger links to southern Europe, Schaeren added, could explain certain styles of rock art, pottery, burial customs and other phenomena seen in the north.”It is one step to a much more connected worldview,” Schaeren said.