From medieval tombs
Spectacular gold find in Basel
In Basel, 15 early medieval graves have come to light. Some are equipped with valuable additions. The highlight is the discovery of a golden robe clasp from a woman’s grave.
During a rescue ditch in connection with the expansion of district heating, the archaeological soil research of the Canton of Basel-Stadt came across a golden robe clasp – a special find in an early medieval grave.
The so-called disc fibula was given to a 20-year-old woman in her grave in the 7th century. “This is an extraordinary piece,” said Basel canton archaeologist Guido Lassau to the media on Friday. Such finds are “rather singular” in early medieval graves.
The grave decorations suggest that the woman had a higher social status. 160 pearls and Roman coins worn as jewelry were also found on her. She probably came from a family that owned property in what was then still a rural area of what is now Kleinbasel, as Lassau said.
Three weeks ago, employees of Archaeological Soil Research came across the graves on Riehentorstrasse in Kleinbasel. These were rescue excavations in connection with the expansion of the district heating pipes. During the laying of a gas line, which took place as part of this construction work, the woman’s grave came to light. The woman’s skeleton was accidentally destroyed during construction work in the 20th century, and the jewelry remained undiscovered at the time.
The archaeologists found other graves with rich gifts. They also came across a girl’s grave with a gold-tufted belt buckle and 380 pearls. Another grave of a boy contained, among other things, silver inlaid belt fittings.
The skeleton of a man with massive facial injuries was also found. The man suffered a massive sword blow and lost part of his upper jaw. The injured man, probably a swordsman himself, survived and only died years later, Lassau explained. This is an indication of the advanced medical care in the early Middle Ages.
The early medieval burial ground had been known since the 19th century. The most recent finds show that the cemeteries were more densely populated than previously thought.