Station: [15] Grave finds and wagon boxes

  • Oldenburger Wallmuseum

The reconstruction shows a grave from the Slavic graveyard in Berlin-Spandau. Graves provide archaeologists with a wide range of information and help them to draw conclusions concerning the lifestyle, sicknesses and reasons of death of the deceased. And it is not only the type of burial and grave gifts which are of interest, but also the bones themselves. For example, the high number of child graves found in Slavic graveyards indicates a high infant mortality rate. Injuries from fights caused by a sword or axe are shown on the diagrams on the left. However, the bones also reveal sickness from deficient nutrition and tumors.

Behind you, a so-called wagon box can be seen. The fixture on the wagon could be reloaded onto ships or sleds and were thus the forerunners of our present-day containers.

In Starigard, this type of wagon box was found as a coffin. This verifies contacts between Starigard and Scandinavia, because only in Scandinavia was the wagon box used to bury aristocratic women. And it was a woman who was in fact buried in the wagon box in Starigard, who probably originated from Scandinavia. Her grave and wagon box were found in the church. This privilege was reserved for members of the nobility and underlines the belief at that time that resurrection happened in line with a strict hierarchy: the closer you were buried to the altar, the sooner you would be resurrected. This also explains the small mortuary houses in the image to the right in the outside wall of the church. Here, those were buried who had no right to a grave inside the church. Thy also wanted to take part in a swift resurrection by being closer to the altar.