People lived here thousands of years ago

people lived here thousands of years ago

For the layman it is hard to imagine that already thousands of years ago people lived on the gorauer anger. On the rocky jura plateau, which is exposed to rough weather and difficult to manage.

He reads in the soil

Timo seregely has no doubts about it. With spade and trowel, he has painstakingly excavated flat areas, uncovering layers of earth that give him a glimpse into the past. The archaeologist reads in the ground like from a book, has discovered on the plateau post pits, which were dug in the past with the simplest tools for wooden houses. "These are clear signs of a rural settlement on the plateau", says seregely, who speaks of ten by five meter houses that stood right up to the edge of the slope.

The 48-year-old is a research associate at the university of bamberg’s chair of prehistoric and early historical archaeology, which, together with the bamberg chair of information processing in geoarchaology and the university of germany’s chair of geography, is investigating settlement and landscape history during the bronze (2200 to 800 bc) and iron (800 to 450 bc) eras. Since 2015, scientists have been taking a close look at the settlement and landscape history of the northern franconian alps. Since march, seregely is digging at gorau, is temporarily supported by students who, due to the corona pandemic, could not be integrated into the project as originally planned.

At times, the 48-year-old had to work alone to excavate the site – not with rough tools, but carefully with spades, trowels and extractors, as is customary for archaeologists. He is grateful to the town of weismain, which removed the top layer with an excavator, and to the farmers of gorau and neudorf for their cooperation and help.

Where did the drinking water come from??

At the beginning of july, a wide excavation field appears at the anger in the midst of the plateau with its impressive white limestone cliffs. The many post and storage pits that have been uncovered are covered with tarpaulin. They give information about how people lived on the plateau.

Was it only a single farm or was it a small village that used to stand here?? A question that the scientists are investigating just as much as the question of the circumstances in which the people lived. Where did they get their drinking water, for example?? "Probably they took it from the valley. There were "water carriers", says seregely. Who has already discovered several objects of use at gorau. Such a fully preserved clay jug and cups from the bronze age. "When you find something like that, it is something special. Especially for students, when they realize that they are holding something in their hands that was last seen by a human being thousands of years ago."

Was the valley flooded?

Little is known about the rural population on the plateau to date. "We want to gain new knowledge", says seregely, who after the excavations is convinced that people lived at gorau anger already in the bronze age for hundreds of years.

Flint artifacts indicate that between 10,000 and 8,000 B.C. Hunters and gatherers were already on the plateau. However, he dates the first real phase of settlement to 1400 to 1300 B.C. Why the people moved to the mountain in the first place? "One can speculate. Perhaps there has been flooding in the valley, making the high ground easier to farm."

It becomes arable land again

The findings collected on the gorau anger are documented. After that, the now exposed area will become arable land again. The research project on the jura, by the way, shows that also in the prehistoric research time is running out. Even if in a special way. The natural erosion and the cultivation of the plains have changed the landscape since the beginning of the settlement. Seregely: "already in few decades the flatter, in few centuries also the deeper settlement structures will have disappeared."

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