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Human Succession

Hunters in the Unstrut Valley

A spur of a hill juts out into the Unstrut valley near Nebra, from which point one has an excellent view of the surrounding valleys and ridges. This panoramic prospect was probably what prompted a small community of Ice Age people to set up camp there year after year, about 15,000 years ago. It ensured a constant observation of the game trails of reindeer and horse herds, which ran through the valley landscape or across the plateaus.

In a sheltered depression, the remains of a dwelling were discovered on which once probably stood a dom tent six to seven metres in diameter. More than 12,000 stone artefacts and more than 5,000 animal bones were found within the still preserved semi-circular floor plan, some of which are interpreted as leftovers and some as waste from fur processing. The tent area was clearly divided into three zones: rest, activity, and fire area.

There are also indications of the magical-religious ideas of the former residents: three stylised female figurines and another representation of a seemingly anthropomorphic being each lay on the floor of a pit, together with other probably specifically selected, objects. Conceivable are Shamanistic and animistic rites, which reflected the animation of the environment and sought contact with other worlds. For the hunters and gatherers in the Unstrut valley this spiritual world was inseparably linked with their everyday life.

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