Hesse 2018

The third excavation at Mount Sängersberg during summer 2018 (Fulda and Vogelsberg district)

After first surveys and excavations on Mount Sängersberg in 2017/2018, a final extended campaign took place within the LOEWE-project during July and August 2018. Due to bad weather conditions in March, it was not possible to conclude the investigation of two trenches in the north-eastern corner of the fortification. The aim of this last campaign focused mainly on questions regarding the structure of the wall but also on the use of the area inside the fortification.

The northern part of the long trench through the wall (Trench 3) was already opened in March. No defensive ditch could be identified in front of the collapsed wall. During the summer, the southern part, which lies within the fortification, was investigated. No structures could been identified though several ceramic sherds have been unearthed. Most of them are quite big and considered to belong to one or two vessels used for cooking. One of these sherds comes from a so called “Trichterrandgefäß” which could be dated to the Urnfield period.

Figure 1: Rim of a bronze age vessel (Foto B. Voss)  Figure 2: Sherd from a vessels base (Foto B. Voss)


Some postholes were identified in the planum and have been documented. The eastern profile shows a big block on the front of the wall and a posthole in the inner side. The wall was built from different sized blocks of sandstone and basalt. At the base of the wall is a similar big block to the one in trench 2. Its function remains unclear but could have contributed to the stabilisation of the fortifications structure.

Figure 3: The profil facing east in trench 3 (Foto H. Blitte)


Trench 2 has been enlarged in order to investigate around 80 square meters. The line of big blocks extends through the whole surface and most certainly the former front of the wall. An interruption in this line can be interpreted as a path through the fortification at this point. Behind this line of blocks, some postholes have been discovered, cut and taken out for archaeobotanical purpose. They contained some charcoals and fire marks. In this trench we found new bronze arrow heads, in front of the former wall as well as in the collapsed wall itself.

Figure 4: Orthofoto of trench 2 (Graphic LOEWE-Project)


Figure 5: Section through a posthole (trench 2) (Foto H. Blitte)
  Figure 6: In situ photography of a bronze arrowhead (Foto H. Blitte)


A new trench (trench 5) was opened in the “Vorwall” in front of the fortifications north-eastern corner. A stone pile which was of no natural occurrence was discovered under the thick soil layer. It is interpreted as the remains of a construction, whose structure and function is unclear. The question if it was originally a filled rampart or a collapsed stone-wood-construction remains open.

In total 23 bronze arrow heads, a bronze spear head as well as two unidentified bronze artefacts have been discovered within the different surveys and excavations in the north-eastern corner of the fortification at the Sängersberg. After restoration, we could see that most of them have a socket and some also a small hook. They date to the Late Bronze Age and testify for a violent conflict at mount Sängersberg during the end of the Bronze Age. The scientific evaluation of further data including radiocarbon dates of wood remains from the sockets of arrow heads and spear head will be conducted in the next months.

Figure 7: A mapping of the bronze artifacts from the fortification (Map H. Blitte)


(Authors Hélène Blitte and Rüdiger Krause)

The second excavation at Mount Sängersberg in March 2018 (Fulda and Vogelsberg district)

The first excavation at Mount Sängersberg took place in September 2017. Several trenches that where laid through the remains of the burnt wall had been investigated, to observe its original construction. As well to analyse the fire marks, with the aim at gaining information that allow to date the fortification. Within the second campaign in March 2018 we focus on the construction of the wall itself.

During the end of February, a geophysical prospection has been carried out by Posselt & Zickgraf Prospektionen GbR covering the northern part of the hillfort. The results very clearly reveal the course of the burnt wall as a strong anomaly and lead to the decision to place a new trench through it.
Figure 1: The result of the geophysical prospection as an overlay to the LIDAR scan: The burnt wall is clearly visible as a linear anomaly. (Figure M. Posselt)  
The second campaign took place between the 5th to the 29th of March 2018. A new trench was dug through the northern part of the hillfort: It was 30 meters long and perpendicular to the wall, in an attempt to verify if a defensive ditch had existed in front of the wall. And to further proof if features where preserved inside the fortification itself. During the campaign only the northern half of this trench i.d. the part outside the wall was excavated. We found no evidence of a defensive ditch nor any other kind of structure. The second half of the trench which covers the inside the hillfort will be investigated during an upcoming campaign this summer.
  Figure 2: Overview of Trench 3 (Planum 3) in the north-eastern part of the hillfort. Thanks to this trench, we could prove that there is no defensive ditch in front of the wall at this place. (Foto H. Blitte)
During the first campaign in 2017, a trench in the north-eastern part of the hillfort near the wall has been partially investigated and some big stone blocks have been unearthed. This area was enlarged during our second campaign and the position of the stones suggests that a gate may have been placed there, between the wall and a possible outer wall that appears on a LIDAR scan. Within this trench, three bronze arrow heads have been found that can be dated to the Late Bronze Age. A fourth arrow head has been discovered just a few meters to the north from this trench, in the area of the possible outer wall. In total 5 bronze arrow heads have been found within this small investigated area, some of them strongly bent, which probably caused by an impact on the wall.
Figure 3: Bronze arrow head in situ. (Foto H. Blitte)  
Despite the bad weather conditions in March 2018, the campaign was a success and a step within the preparation of our further research. Thanks to the bent arrow heads we have some indirect evidences of a possible conflict, which gives us unexpected but important information for our project and issues. We would like to pursue this question among others about the history of the fortification during this summer with an extensive excavation.
  Figure 4: Snow at the excavation site in March 2018. (Foto H. Blitte)

(Authoren Hélène Blitte and Rüdiger Krause)