In Bavaria, researchers come across a child's grave from the Middle Ages. In order not to risk damage during the salvage, the scientists freeze the find without further ado. For a detailed examination, the resting place is now to be freed from the ice.
Almost nine months after the discovery of a 1300-year-old child's grave in Swabia, the deep-frozen resting place is being thawed. The experts from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments had recovered the grave in October 2021 in a new development area in Tussenhausen in the Unterallgäu district using a new shock-freezing technique.
So that the find would not be damaged during salvage, the archaeologists frozen the entire earth and then dug the grave in one block. The frozen grave, weighing 800 kilos, was then taken to the branch office of the state office near Bamberg and initially stored there in a freezer cell.
In the depot of the state office in Upper Franconia, the grave will be thawed in the next few days, the authority reported. The restorers worked with hot air and soldering irons. "So that the condensation water that is released does not damage the finds, it is drained off via a special suction device," the office said. During breaks in processing, a cooling hood ensures a constant temperature of minus four degrees.
The scientists want to find out whether the "Ice Prince", as they call the boy who died in the 7th century, was a child from wealthy circles, as suspected. This is supported by the high-quality grave goods such as a sword with a belt decorated with gold fittings and jewelry such as gold leaf crosses and silver bracelets. The boy, who probably lived to be no more than ten years old, was buried with a dog.
Bavaria's general conservator Mathias Pfeil referred to the importance of the preserved leather and fabric remains. "They promise very interesting insights into the early medieval world of fashion," said after the discovery of the grave last October. High quality textiles and decorated leather would have been of great importance for the depiction of status in the early Middle Ages.