Archaeologists have discovered two metre-long pit lines from the late Bronze Age in the future Halberstadt-Ost industrial park. "We only know the pits lined up in a line, which are called pit alignments in English, from Great Britain and central Germany, i.e. Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt," said project manager and archaeologist Susanne Friederich of the German Press Agency. "We are now grasping this phenomenon in Halberstadt."
One line is 450 meters long and includes 110 individual pits, the other 120 meter long line consists of 24 pits. While the long line extends even further, the shorter one has been fully excavated. "They date from their last phase of use, the late Bronze Age, around 3000 years ago and were in use for maybe 1000 years," said Friederich. "The individual pits are about 50 to 60 centimeters deep, but in the upper area it is a combined ditch and in the depth it breaks up into individual pits. All pits are empty."
That could have something to do with the lines
The pit lines may have been created for zoning purposes to separate large areas of arable land. "They also prevented too much water from running onto the surfaces," said Friederich. "The shorter pit line is below a former burial mound and has a gap about 20 meters wide, which was an entrance."
It is possible that the burial mound was shielded with this row of pits. That said, these rows could be older. "No fields were separated here, but the pit lines were laid out to guide people to the monumental burial mound in the landscape," said the archaeologist. "This row of pits is 1.50 meters wider than the other row of pits to separate the fields, which is one meter wide. That's where you can see the difference."
Often only discoverable through aerial photos
The pit rows are often only discovered on aerial photographs, their systematic investigation during excavations is rarely done. "The discovery near Halberstadt offers the opportunity to learn more about the function of these prehistoric structures through scientific investigations and to gain deep insights into the settlement history of the region," said the expert.
Grave finds from the 4800-year-old spherical amphora culture were already found in the area in Halberstadt during previous excavations. The truck manufacturer Daimler Truck wants to build a new logistics location on around 260,000 square meters in Halberstadt-Ost. In the future, all vehicle parts will be available there in an automated high-bay warehouse and an automated small parts warehouse and will be delivered to more than 170 countries.