Station: [118] Nadelwitz Grave

In 1930 a rare find was discovered on the edge of a gravel pit near  Bautzen: A stone axe made of solid rock lay in the fine red sand along with a larger number of light and dark grey flint stone objects.  

In a more detailed examination of the area a cone-shaped burial pit emerged that measured 2,85 m in diameter and 1 m 65 in depth. The deceased was probably buried in a seated position, but there weren’t any traces of bones. As we have already explained Saxonian soil is not very good for the preservation of organic materials and this was the reason.

Nevertheless, the red sand that covered the floor of the burial pit was interesting. Red represents blood and is a symbol of life. Mesolithic burial pits were often lined with a red sprinkling that was obtained from the haematite mineral. That’s how we know this is a Mesolithic grave. The flint stone tools, that reveal slanting retouched edges – another typical characteristic of Mesolithic burial customs - are a further indication of this.

The enormous stone axe looks exotic in comparison with the rest of this ensemble. If you have a look through the magnifying glass you’ll see how finely sanded it is. We have only ever come across hatchets and axes with handmade holes like this made by resident Neolithic, or New Stone Age farmers. So, did they keep contact with Mesolithic hunters and gatherers in the area? Did they perhaps mourn their dead together? In any case the Nadelwitz Grave dating from the 6th to the 5th millenium BC is an impressive indication of the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic here in Saxony.