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Celtic tomb treasures on show in Berlin

Klaus Krämer eg
September 18, 2018

The princess' jewelry had been hidden for thousands of years, but now they're highlights of an ambitious exhibition in Berlin's Gropius Bau museum. Here's a look back at the milestone discovery from 2010.

Pressebilder Ausstellung Gropius Bau | Bewegte Zeiten. Archäologie in Deutschland | Goldschmuck aus dem Grab der Keltenfürstin
Image: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Stuttgart/Y. Mühleis

"Restless Times. Archaeology in Germany," the upcoming major exhibition at Berlin's Gropius Bau, features the most spectacular finds uncovered from German archaeological sites over the past 20 years.

Treasures unearthed in 2010 are among the 1,000 exhibits on show from September 21, 2018 through January 6, 2019.

Some particularly heralded items on display are the finely worked gold and amber jewelry found near the skeleton of a Celtic princess. These had been kept hidden for over 2,600 years in her four-by-five-meter subterranean tomb near the prehistoric hill of Heuneberg in southern Germany, right by the Danube River.

After discovering the chamber, archaeologists determined that the best way to explore its contents would be to remove the entire room from the earth as a block and send it to a research facility.

The entire 80-ton chamber was lifted by cranes, becoming the largest archaeological block recovered in Germany to this day.

The results of the following years of research revealed so many artifacts and information about Celtic culture that experts described it as an "archaeological milestone."

The oak floor of the room and organic materials were unusually well preserved by flowing water. The tomb could therefore be exactly dated to the year 583 B.C.  

The jewelry worn by the Celtic noblewoman came from Italy and even further abroad, demonstrating that Heuneburg, one of the most important Celtic settlements in Germany, was a vital trading center during the period between 620 and 480 BC.