Station: [27] Antiquities Collection

In 1816, prehistoric burial mounds were discovered in the princes’ forest near Braunfels. After some rather amateurish excavation attempts, Prince Wilhelm Christian Carl and his son, Hereditary Prince Ferdinand, took over management of the dig. In all, 273 burial mounds were uncovered. The finds from there form our local antiquities collection, about which the Braunfels archivist Jacob Carl Schaum even entered into correspondence with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

But another 140 years went by before a very special piece was unearthed in the Kraftsolms forest district on the 15th of July 1958: a highly stylized human figure made of a flat piece of limestone, bedded on red velvet and surrounded by a narrow gold band. It’s a fertility idol, probably from the 3rd millennium BC. You’ll find the figure in the display case at the front.

With its abstract geometric design, the figure resembles idols from Mesopotamia. A find from the Iraqi site of Tell-Asmar is so similar to our figure that experts briefly suspected both might be by the same artist. That is, of course, a very bold theory and impossible to prove. However, we can be certain that the idols originated neither in Mesopotamia nor in the Solms region, but in Anatolia. They travelled those incredibly long distances along trade routes. One figure arrived here in the Taunus Mountains; the other made its way to Mesopotamia. And all that happened almost 5,000 years ago – quite amazing!

All depictions: © Schloss Braunfels