Stone concentrations are posing riddles

»I am faced with a riddle«. This was Gustav Schwantes’ reaction when he came across complex, sometimes large-scale, and certainly anthropogenic stone concentrations in the cemetery area during his excavations in Nienbüttel at the beginning of the 20th century. Schwantes called them »cenotaphs«, i.e. empty or pseudo-graves, because they sometimes contained objects from the range of grave goods in the urns but no or only a few cremation remains.

In the two weeks before Easter, one of these structures was the focus of the first of two field campaigns planned for 2024 as part of the project »Rituals in a new light – Modern field research, documentation and visualisation strategies using the example of the burial ground of Nienbüttel«, which is being carried out by the NIhK in cooperation with the Chair of Pre- and Protohistory at Rostock University. 3D structure-from-motion documentation and detailed observations during the excavation provide a new perspective on the enigmatic stone concentrations. Their significance as an integral part of the large urnfield must now be worked out over the coming weeks using the excavation recordings and research literature before the next excavation campaign begins in the summer.