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The Invention of the Germans

The Profen Princess

The grave furnishings of the cemetery of Profen in the Burgenland district document the merging of different communities into a new tribe, which is mentioned for the first time since 3 BC under the name Hermunduri. More than 500 people were buried here without interruption over almost 200 years.

A further special feature of this complex of finds is the burial of a high-ranking noblewoman of the Danubian Quadi.

Why was the so-called ›princess‹ laid to rest around 450 kilometres as the crow flies from her Western Carpathian homeland on the other side of the low mountain range near Profen in the middle of a Hermunduri cemetery? The cremated 30- to 40-year-old was lavishly buried with majestic jewellery in a Roman bronze cauldron. Typical costume accessories reveal her origin. The quantity and quality of the gold and silver gifts show that she came from a royal clan.

The time of her burial in the middle of the 1st century AD coincides exactly with the events when the Hermunduri assisted the Quadi in the controversy for the throne – an alliance of arms that was concluded at the highest level. As a result of this support, the lady would have been appropriately married to a local prince to confirm the clan contract: In AD 50, the Hermunduri prince Vibilius granted military aid to the Quadi princes Vangio and Sido in order to overthrow their uncle Vannius, whom the Romans in AD 19 had appointed client king of the Quadi. Did this alliance lead the Quadi princess to the Weisse Elster river?

Museum Exklusiv

Here you can find the film about the »Princess of Profen« from the series »Museum exklusiv« of the State Museum of Prehistory »Die Prinzessin von Profen« (German version only).

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