The Hochdorf Grave

  1. Method of excavating the burial mound

Since the grave was found inside a burial mound, electric sensitivity must have been used to determine the subsurface sediments and objects before excavating. Due to collapse from erosion, its excavation was necessary, and thus a combination of both vertical and horizontal excavations was applicable. The vertical excavation was to identify and remove strata by paying keen attention to soil color and texture. The horizontal excavation was to expose objects lying right below the mound and the grave.

  1. Why the body was not better preserved

This was to leave the original finding as it was – as a primary source. This helps in determining what the body reveals about the dead individual. It also helps with later reconstruction. As a primary source, the body was left untouched because it is the most certain aspect researchers are certain about.

  1. Advantage and disadvantages of reconstructing the display

Reconstructions enable us to understand our distant past better and thus provide a glimpse of our history. Through the researcher, it helps the observer perceive the uncertainties and problems involved in a particular excavation. For the academics, the reconstructions are especially significant in proving a visual accumulation of various scientific research aspects that are communicated via images, physical models and virtual reality. More importantly, reconstructions are advantageous in enabling us experience and relive our past lifetime, particularly through the life-sized models. On the downside, reconstructions are never 100% factual. Thus, it is worth noting that every archeological reconstruction is usually wrong; it is only a matter of how wrong it is.

  1. What the grave reveals

The tomb shows us that the body was of royalty, and hence the princely tomb. The grave was filled with stunning goods such as gorgeous pottery and gold-stripped shoes. The body also was adorned in gold neck ring, gold brooches, and clothing made from Chinese silk. The 3.3 feet bronze cauldron is an indication of trades with the Greeks or Etruscans. This also evidences ancient trading routes with their nearby cities and states such as Massilia, which is the modern Marseille, France.

The presence of six constructed ditches (Feuerschlitze) within the burial mound shows a habit of mass beer production by the people at the time. The ditches were carefully built and had a U-shaped profile. The people believed in an afterlife, which is showed by the careful preservation of the body and the presence of a wagon and a couch, perhaps to enable the chieftain to feel like home.

The people at the time were also very religious, which can be evidenced by the presence of random paraphernalia that includes fish hooks, nail clippers, gold-plated daggers, and amber jewelry. The fact the body was buried alongside these items is an indication of belief from a religious perspective. The wagon also represents the journey the man, despite being dead, would take while journeying from earth to the next life.

The cultural aspect of long burial traditions is also evidenced. The fact the grave was built inside a burial mound indicates the people were taking their time in not only respecting the dead royalty but also making it their time in finally burying the man. Moreover, the burial mound is part of a set of four other burial mounds within the area, all of which date back to about 500 B.C.