During work in a construction area in Exing, Lower Bavaria, near Eichendorf, a truly sensational discovery was made: a skeleton, estimated to be 6,800 years old. There are also numerous grave goods. The remains belong to a man who must have lived around 4800 BC. This means that the man christened “Exinger” is around 1,500 years older than the famous glacier mummy “Ötzi”. The find was presented at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

The discovery was “a highlight” of his career, said district archaeologist Dr. Florian Eibl of the “Passauer Neue Presse”. The construction area is located on a busy road. When a new development area is designated, archaeologists are on site to excavate. Mayor Josef Beham told the PNP that no finds were actually suspected. But then a lucky find happened. When an excavator started digging, he had already lifted parts of a grave container. The archaeologists would have immediately said “Stop!” called.

“It became clear relatively quickly that this was a Neolithic settlement,” Eibl explained. The Neolithic period began around 10,000 years ago and ended around 2000 BC. There have already been finds near the current site. But the discovery of “Exinger” is of far greater importance. There are fewer than ten such graves in Bavaria.

However, there is a problem: the bones of Stone Age man are completely preserved – but they are so fragile and in danger of decay that recovery is impossible. That’s why the skeleton is photographed and captured in 3D. “Today is a situation that we will never see again.”

Archaeologist Eibl suspects that the person buried must have been a village elder. “Kind of an early mayor.” The grave is evidence of a ritual for a select group of people. The majority of the population was buried differently back then. The person buried first had to earn the status that the grave bears witness to. It wasn’t inherited back then. The village elder is believed to be in the middle of the grave area, with women or children nearby. Eibl explains that it is a man from the grave goods, according to the “PNP”.

The archaeologists found several vessels around the head of the skeleton, which was buried in a crouching position. They have not yet been examined in more detail, but it is hoped that traces of the original contents can still be found here. A drinking vessel – possibly a personal cup – was found in front of the skeleton’s face, and stone blades in front of and behind the body. The blade behind the back is particularly unusual, said Eibl. But it was so far away that it was clear that it was not in the body of the person buried.

The contents of a bag that was found in the grave are particularly exciting, said Eibl in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk. It “may have contained a colored stone as well as pyrite and flint as a lighter”. “The pocket trim consisted of a split boar’s tooth – a badge of rank at that time.”

The skeleton itself has not yet been examined in sufficient detail. In the next few days, the exact age of the “Exinger” will be determined using the most modern anthropological methods, according to the BR. The contents of the grave should then be recovered. The experts hope to gain new insights into life in the Neolithic Age. Ultimately, says Eibl, the graves and grave goods reveal more about the culture of those buried than about the person buried.

Sources: DPA news agency, “Passauer Neue Presse”, Bayerischer Rundfunk, idowa.de