During the 7th and 8th centuries AD, Saxony was only sparsely settled. The practice of cemeteries with inhumation ceased as well. What events could have caused this to happen?
We know from the historical records that the second half of the 6th century saw the advent of a Turco-Mongol tribe called the Awars. They came from the Central Asian Steppe, rode on horseback and pushed forward towards Central Europe. The first Slavs arrived in their train. Did the ensuing battles with the Thuringian war leaders result in the depopulation of Saxony?
Well, given that there were recognizable changes in burial customs, we can conclude that a social upheaval did take place. Unfortunately, the rarely found funerary urns seldom reveal the identity of the deceased. The so-called Prague Type urns presumably came from Slav workshops. On the other hand, the presence of weapons such as a three-winged spear point in a cremation tomb at Dresden-Stetzsch suggests that Awar rites were involved. This cremation burial points to the presence of both Slavs and Awars; does this mean that we can date the Slav migration to this period?
If you would like to know what happened next in Saxony, and how Saxony developed into the cultural landscape that we recognise today, please walk up to the third floor. There’s another tour for you to enjoy there that will take you through the Middle Ages and the early Modern Age through to the beginning of industrialisation in Saxony!