Yesterday I met a Slovakian colleague, the amiable Matej Ruttkay of the Institute of Archaeology at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. We had an animated conversation in broken German about 1st Millennium graves and he showed me loads of find pix. Matej’s own excavations are absolutely ace, with some really weird Style II metalwork, not actually very far from the Scandinavian prototypes yet clearly of local make. But what blew my mind was the pix and news of the Poprad-Matejovce chamber grave, excavated by Matej’s colleagues last summer and not yet widely publicised. It’s an extremely well-preserved waterlogged chamber grave of c. AD 400, robbed of some furnishings in antiquity but retaining every single piece of wood in pristine condition. See those wooden beams in the pic? That’s the roof of the chamber, 16 centuries old.
The burial has an AD 375 gold coin pendant, a brass sheet vessel, three axes, lathe-turned wooden furniture, a set of shears in a basket, textiles, burnished pottery and probably loads of stuff that wasn’t in Matej’s pics. This thing was sitting alone, two metres below the ground surface, in the middle of an industrial development. Geophysical survey didn’t turn up any neighbours.
More about the find at the Slovak Spectator: click here and scroll down to the heading “Tomb of 5th century Germanic leader”.