Station: [2] Archaeological Finds

F: Some 7,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period, Offenbach didn’t exist. But from grave finds, objects buried along with the dead, we know that the region was settled over the following millennia, after the hunter-gatherers of the last Ice Age had established permanent homes. The oldest Offenbach finds date from this period: stone axes, spindle whorls and vessels with band pattern decorations.

M: Take a look at your smartphone’s screen to see more archaeological finds from the Bronze Age to Antiquity. The originals are in the showcases – can you spot them?

F: The Bieber amulet dates to the Late Bronze Age, which lasted from roughly twelve hundred to 750 BC. The amulet is a small pendant made of bronze wire in the shape of a stylised human figure. It was a funerary object and was perhaps thought to ward off evil. The amulet was discovered in the autumn of 1979 in a collapsed burial chamber south of Offenbach’s Bieber district.

M: The Iron Age is regarded as the third prehistoric epoch. Two small canine figurines from a Celtic dog burial are from that period. Could the figurines have been gifts to a beloved pet on its final journey? (zweifelnd, nachdenklich) They’re more likely to have been part of a ritual burial.

F: The statuette of Mercury, on the plinth in front of the display cases, is from the time of Imperial Rome, which lasted from the beginning of the Christian Era to 260 A.D. Mercury, divine messenger and god of commerce, appears in the form of a naked youth holding a full moneybag, signifying profit and wealth. The statuette was excavated in 1979 in a garden plot near the Buchrainweiher, a lake here in Offenbach.

M: The skull of a dead warrior from 650 AD provides evidence of an ancient custom, whereby a gold coin was placed in the mouth of the deceased. Known as "Charon's obol", the coin was payment for the ferryman on the journey to the afterlife. The skull was discovered in a former Frankish settlement during excavations in Bieber.


Foto 1: © Haus der Stadtgeschichte
Fotos 2-4: © J. Baumann