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Hoard of Buried Treasure Discovered in Iron Age German Tomb

When it comes to archaeological expeditions or even adventure stories like the Indiana Jones series, the crème de la crème is the discovery of buried treasure. Vast hoards of lost gold and priceless artifacts are rumored to be hidden under the sea or buried away in secretive caches around the world, and many wide-eyed adventurers spend their lives (and fortunes) hunting them down. While most of these searches come to naught, some surprising archaeological news out of Germany shows that sometimes, stores of buried treasures really are found just under our feet.

Grab it. Quit thinking about it and just grab it.

Grab it. Quit thinking about it and just grab it.

The treasure was found among the ruins of Heuneburg, a prehistoric fort situated on a hill beside the Danube River. Heuneburg was a Celtic city-state believed to have been founded in the sixth century B.C., and was even written about by the legendary Greek historian Herodotus. Interest in excavating this site was kindled in 2005 after a farmer’s accidental discovery of a child’s gold brooch while plowing. Twelve years later, the largest discovery at this site has revealed much, much more gold – and a host of mysteries.

The excavation took place over several years.

The excavation took place over several years.

The treasure surrounded the tomb of a woman believed to have died in her 30s or 40s who was likely a member of the ancient Celtic equivalent of an aristocrat. The construction of her tomb has been dated to approximately 583 B.C. Another grave was discovered at the foot of the seemingly wealthy woman, but this grave was much more sparsely adorned. This fact could indicate that the second grave belongs to a servant, buried along with her mistress. Hope that was in the job description.

Most of the treasure was ornate jewelry, implying the woman buried there was someone of great significance to this ancient Celtic community.

Most of the treasure was ornate jewelry, implying the woman buried there was someone of great significance to this ancient Celtic community.

Surrounding the primary grave was a vast stash of loot including gold, bronze, and amber jewelry, furs, ornaments, and leather goods. The tomb contained petrified sea creatures, a find which researchers believe might indicate the woman was some sort of priestess or magic woman.

Gold...somethings found at the tomb.

Gold brooches found in the tomb.

Archaeologists also uncovered a set of mysterious boxwood objects, the nature of which is still unknown.

The purpose of the strange boxwood objects remains a mystery.

The purpose of the strange boxwood objects remains a mystery.

Unfortunately, no evil spirits or ancient undead beings were loosed during excavation. Better luck next time.