Inhumation graves of the Niemberger Group from the 5th century AD have been found, for instance, in Zwochau, in North Saxony. A man’s grave was found to contain a long-sword, and a Roman army belt with gold and silver-plate fittings. The long two-handed sword shows that the man was a Germani. He presumably took the army belt back to his Germanic homeland once he’d completed his military service in the Roman army.
In addition to the practise of settling Germanic prisoners of war in areas close to the frontier, the Romans also formed alliances with Germanic tribes. They were then allowed to settle on land within the Roman empire, in exchange for defending it against their own people. These foederati, allies, could rise through the ranks in the Roman army and attain the highest positions. When they returned home, they took Roman objects with them, which where then placed in their graves.
These Niemberger Group graves were orientated North – South and belong to the 4th century Central German group of inhumation graves. Above all, it is the Princely Tombs of Haßleben-Leuna that distinguish this group: these tombs are remarkable for the enormous quantity of precious metal and Roman imported goods that they contain.