Archaeologists have found the skeletal remains of a man. According to researchers, he was buried 1,400 years ago. Near him, they discover the bones of a horse. This one is headless. These discoveries were made in the town of Knittlingen. This place is located in southern Germany. According to archaeologists, it is very likely that the man is the owner of the horse. The man was buried with his horse at the time of the Merovingian dynasty. Chronologically, it would be around 476-750 CE.
During his lifetime, the man probably served the kings of the Merovingian dynasty. He would have been part of a chain of command. This is the hypothesis brought by Folke Damminger. The latter is the archaeologist in charge of research on the site. Scientists suspect that it would be a knight who took part in the king’s campaigns.
Damminger works for the National Monument Preservation Office in Stuttgart. Much of the excavation was carried out by the cultural resource management company ArchaeoBW.
An ancient funeral rite
Being buried with a headless horse is not trivial. Moreover, the exact reason for this gesture is not clear. Damminger believes it wasan ancient funeral rite. The decapitation of the animal was surely part of the burial ceremony. Thus, the horse would have been placed near its owner as burial property. In any case, it is not a sacrifice, adds the scientist. As for the horse’s head, it has not been found.
The family members of the deceased would have liked to portray him as a wealthy and important individual. In the past, this step was essential in order to benefit from its status. This ceremony was staged. It makes it possible to paint the deceased in his status and his wealth of yesteryear. Subsequently, the successors retain the status of their father.
A cemetery steeped in history
Archaeologists have also discovered the remains of several other people. The latter would have lived at the same time as the knight. Some of them were buried with rich grave goods. For example, a woman was buried with a gold brooch. Others were buried with weapons such as swords, spears, shields and arrowheads.
Researchers continue to study the burial of the headless horse. At the same time, they continue to excavate the other tombs in the cemetery. Damminger said the team is in the process of restore the grave goods of the mysterious man. He also states that future anthropological work will be carried out. The man’s bones and teeth will be examined. This would make it possible to know more about his health, the reasons for his death and the age he was when he perished.