In 2005, during excavations in advance of gravel extraction, scientists discovered four graves which were soon to make history. At least two people were buried and carefully arranged in each of them. There were only small children, mothers and older, disabled men. Molecular-genetic and biochemical analyses of the total of 13 individuals provided astonishing, partly biographical details about the age, origin, kinship, and death of the deceased. A quadruple burial could be identified by DNA analysis as the oldest nuclear family in the world to date – a scientific sensation that Time magazine voted as one of the Top 10 Scientific Discoveries in 2008.
Further archaeological and anthropological indicators allow a scenario to be reconstructed in which the buried died in an attack on a small settlement. The close family relationships between the dead, which could be proven by DNA and dental analyses and are also precisely expressed by the position of the buried in the grave, are extraordinary. These investigations also testify that those killed were buried by clan members who knew exactly what the respective family relationships were.
Three of the graves are presented in the State Museum as part of a triptych. Here you can clearly see that some of the family members are holding hands, the children being buried face to face with their parents. These loving gestures illustrate that central human values can be found over thousands of years. This closeness creates a powerful, emotional image that obliviates space and time.