Archaeologists prefer not to touch or change original sites before they are fully documented. It is easy to photograph large objects, but what happens with very small artifacts such as splinters or small pieces of jewelry? These can be examined in situ with the help of stereo microscopes. Archaeologists do this by lying on their stomachs and moving the suspended microscope slowly over the find.
This is exactly what was required for one of the most spectacular finds in Germany in recent years: in the area around the early Celtic chieftain's residence at Heuneburg, Germany, archaeologists from the State Office for Heritage Management of Baden-Württemberg last year discovered a four-by-five-meter burial chamber from the 6th century B.C. What was most amazing was that the oak floor and burial offerings made of organic materials were fully preserved thanks to the ground water and moisture in the soil.
Initial investigations soon revealed that a conventional, on-site excavation of the grave was not advisable. Therefore the entire burial chamber was removed in one piece in order to analyze it under lab conditions. The Carl Zeiss DV4 stereo microscope is used in identifying, excavating and documenting delicate objects. The microscope's light guides are integrated into the body of the microscope so that the whole area can be examined with the help of a special flexible assembly. The artifacts this procedure uncovers and their historical significance will all be revealed next year in Stuttgart where the grave and burial offerings will be on display as part of the exhibition "The World of the Celts. Centers of Power – Artistic Treasures."
November 1, 2011
The following video is only available in German language.