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The Leubingen Tumulus is an early bronze age royal grave of the Leubingen culture, (which, after further finds at Auntjetitz became known as Auntjetitz or Unetice culture), dating to about 1940 BC, located near the hills of Kyffhäuser in the Leubingen district in the eastern German state of Thuringia. A burial chamber, the site was first unearthed in 1877 by art professor, archaeologist Friedrich Klopfleisch (1831–1898). This is the grave of a member of an elite individual based on the rich contents of the burial chamber as well as the presence of metal in the funerary gifts. During road construction in 2011 excavations on the site nearby have also revealed the remains of one of the largest buildings in prehistoric Germany, a longhouse 44 m x 10.50 m, or 470 square meters (5,057 square feet) of floor space, a trove of bronze objects, and a cemetery of 44 farmers.[1]


Location of Helmsdorf and Leubingen tumuli in the Elbe watershed

This grave consists of a Burial Chamber roughly the form of a hut/house of the time. It has a saddle-shaped roof made out of heavy oak beams covered in stones with an earthen burial mound on top of the structure. The mound is 7 metres (23 ft) high and contains a burial chamber of 3.90 by 2.10 metres (12.8 by 6.9 ft) with a maximum height of 1.70 metres (5.6 ft).

Contents of the Grave[edit]

In a central position lay the body of a man about 50 years old, draped over his loins at an angle of ca. 40° lies the body of a young woman who was seemingly killed right after the death of the man.

  • Aside his right shoulder:
    • An open bracelet
    • Two pins
    • Two rings
    • A spiral made out of gold.
  • At his feet:
    • A stone battle-hammer which was pierced
    • A rectangular stone (anvil?)
    • Two bronze edge-axes (axe with elevated edges to prevent it from moving too much on the handle it was attached to)
    • Three bronze chisels
    • Three bronze daggerblades which were placed in leather and oak bark scabbards.
    • Also found there was the blade of a stapled halberd (Stabdolch).
  • In a corner of the Burial Chamber stood a big ceramic pot, with brown and black decorations, with little ears on the shoulder.


Dendrochronologic testing has placed the grave at circa 1940 BC. This type of burial is typical[citation needed] for elite graves in the Early Bronze Age in Western Europe.


Between the 8th and 11th century AD, the local (nowadays Slavic) community placed a graveyard (cemetery) of about 70 graves in and around this manmade hill.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schulz, Matthias (1 July 2011). "Archaeologists Puzzle Over Opulent Prehistoric Burial Find". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  • Arnold B. and D. Blair Gibson (eds.) 19962, Celtic Chiefdoms, Celtic State, the Evolution of Complex Social Systems in Prehistoric Europe, Cambridge University Press, 159pp.
  • Biel J. 1998. Der Keltenfürst von Hochdorf, Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 172pp.
  • Briard J. 1985. L'Âge du Bronze en Europe (2000-800 av. J. Chr.), Collection des Hespérides. Paris, Éditions Errance, 211pp.
  • Briard J. 1979. The Bronze Age in Barbarian Europe. From the Megaliths to the Celts, London, Boston and Henley, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 246pp.
  • Coles, J. M., and A. F. Harding. The Bronze Age in Europe: An Introduction to the Prehistory of Europe c. 2000–700 B.C. London: Methuen, 1979.
  • ——. European Societies in the Bronze Age. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • ——. "The Emergence of the European World System in the Bronze Age: Divergence, Convergence, and Social Evolution during the First and Second Millennium B.C. in Europe." In Europe in the First Millennium B.C. Edited by Kristian Kristiansen and Jorgen Jensen, pp. 7–30. Sheffield Archaeological Monographs 6. Sheffield, U.K.: Collis, 1994.
  • Sherratt, A. G. "The Emergence of Élites: Earlier Bronze Age Europe, 2500–1300 B.C." In Prehistoric Europe: An Illustrated History. Edited by Barry Cunliffe, pp. 244–276. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • So⁄rensen, M. L. S. "Reading Dress: The Construction of Social Categories and Identities in Bronze Age Europe." Journal of European Archaeology 5, no. 1 (1997): 93–114.
  • Virchow, R. 1877. Schadeln aus einer Krypte in Leubingen im nordlichen Thiiringen. (Verb. der Berl. Ges. f. Anth., 1877, pp. 327–330.)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°11′25″N 11°10′11″E / 51.19028°N 11.16972°E / 51.19028; 11.16972