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uni'wissen 01-2015

Further Reading Walter, S. (2008): Das frühmittelalterliche Gräberfeld von Mengen (Kr. Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald). Stuttgart (= Materialhefte zur Archäologie in Baden-Württemberg 82). Brather, S. (Eds.) (2008): Zwischen Spätantike und Frühmittelalter. Archäologie des 4. bis 7. Jahrhunderts im Westen. Berlin/New York (= Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, Ergänzungsband 57). Brather, S. / Brather-Walter, S. (2012): Repräsentation oder Religion? Grabbeigaben und Bestattungsrituale im frühen Mittelalter. In: Krohn, N. / Ristow, S. (Eds.): Wechsel der Religionen – Religion des Wechsels. Tagungsbeiträge der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Spätantike und Frühmittelalter 5. Hamburg (= Studien zu Spätantike und Frühmittelalter 4), pp. 121–143. A Folding Chair Indicates Social Status It is nearly impossible to determine where the woman from grave 33 was born and what regions she lived in before dying in Niedernai. Thanks to the numerous burial offerings in the grave, however, it is clear that she enjoyed an elevated social status: They include hairpins set with red semiprecious stones, a ring and chain, two brooch pairs to close her gown, a quartz amulet, a bangle with an amber pendant, and a knife with a decorated leather sheath. Also buried in the grave was a folding chair – very unusual, explains Brather-Walter: “In Rome, the consuls had folding chairs as an insignia of their office. The objects found in this grave thus underscore the status of the woman buried in it, as contemporaries were conscious of the social significance of sitting.” The semiprecious stones on the jewelry likely come from India; they will soon be analyzed at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The textile analysis will be another focus of the project in 2015. “Grave 33 is symbolic of the upheaval and representative of the beginning of the sixth century,” says the archaeologist. “In addition, we can visualize the fashions of the times not only with regard to diet but also clothing thanks to the textile analyses.” The results of the project have already led to two important findings. First, “the Rhine was not a border around the year 500,” stresses Brather- Walter. Rather, the High and Upper Rhine formed a culturally related region together with the Alsace. Second, the cooperation between the archaeolo- gists, historians, and natural scientists works great. “It makes the research so much more interesting for all of us,” confirms Brather: “Niedernai has been a stroke of luck for us.” Dr. Susanne Brather-Walter studied prehistory and early history, ancient history, and archaeology of the Roman provinces in Munich and Kiel. In 2005 she earned her PhD at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich with a dissertation on the early medieval necropolis of Mengen in the Breisgau-Hochschwarz- wald district. She then com- pleted a research traineeship at the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Esslingen and headed a German Research Foundation pilot project on the documentation and anal- ysis of early medieval grave finds in Lauchheim with the help of 3D computed tomog- raphy. Since 2009 she has conducted research at the Institute of Archaeological Sciences of the University of Freiburg. Photos: Thomas Kunz Prof. Dr. Sebastian Brather studied prehistory and early history, history, and anthro- pology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. After earning his PhD in 1995 and completing a travel fellow- ship from the German Archae- ological Institute, he served as a research assistant at the University of Freiburg, where he completed his habilitation in 2002 with a thesis on ethnic interpreta- tions in early historical archaeology, and at the Goethe University Frankfurt. He then returned to Freiburg as the holder of a Heisen- berg Fellowship from the German Research Foundation. Since 2006 he has served as professor of early historical archaeology and medieval archaeology at the University of Freiburg. Prof. Dr. Eckhard Wirbelauer earned his PhD at the Univer- sity of Freiburg in 1992 after studying ancient history, Latin, and medieval Latin philology. In 1998 he completed his habilitation thesis, a historical- geographical and source- critical study of the Ionian islands Cephalonia and Ithaca. He subsequently worked as a lecturer in Freiburg. In 2004 he was appointed to a chair at the University of Strasbourg, first as professor of Greek history and since 2006 as professor of Roman history. He is a member of “UMR 7044: Archaeology and Ancient History in the Mediter- ranean Area (ArchHiMedE),” a joint research unit in Strasbourg and Mulhouse sponsored by national research institutes. Photo: private 23