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Medieval Headless Horse Burial Uncovered in Germany

Thursday, February 3, 2022

KNITTLINGEN, GERMANY—Live Science reports that the 1,400-year-old skeletons of a man and a headless horse have been uncovered in a cemetery in southern Germany. Archaeologist Folke Damminger of the Stuttgart Region Council’s State Office for Monument Preservation suggests the man served the Merovingian kings, who ruled territory in what is now France and central Europe from A.D. 476 to 750. The horse may have been decapitated as part of the elite farmer’s burial ceremony, Damminger said. “One function of this ceremony was the ‘staging’ of the deceased in his former status and wealth as a claim of his successors to maintain this status,” he explained. The horse’s head has not yet been found. Other graves in the cemetery held the remains of a woman buried with a gold brooch, and men buried with swords, lances, shields, and arrowheads. To read about a basilica unearthed in Germany that was commissioned by a prominent Eastern Frankish king, go to "Otto's Church."

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