Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,300-year-old Celtic cremation burial pit containing a trove of grave goods, including a folded sword and a pair of exceptionally well-preserved scissors, in the Sendling district of Munich, Germany.
The find was first made when an explosive ordnance disposal team searching a construction site for unexploded incendiary devices from the Second World War came upon a buried wooden structure.
Archaeologists from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments (BLfD) excavated the site, and unearthed a square structure outlined by four individual corner posts and, at its centre, the cremation burial.
The burial was found to contain a pair of scissors, a folded sword, the remains of a shield and a spearhead, a razor, and a fibula (clasp).
The scissors are in an excellent state of preservation, exhibiting minimal corrosion.
General Curator Professor Mathias Pfeil, head of the BLfD, said: ‘A pair of scissors that are more than 2,300 years old and in a condition as if they could still be used today – that’s a very special find.’
They may have been used for a range of purposes, from cutting hair or textiles to sheep shearing.
Examination of the sword revealed that it had been deliberately heated and folded. This may have been done to prevent looting, as it would have been rendered unusable, or as a practical way of fitting the sword within the burial pit.
It has also been suggested that the ‘destruction’ of the sword may have held ritual significance, symbolising the end of the individual’s life.
This array of such fine grave goods is rare in Celtic burials from this region, and indicates that the deceased may have been of high-status.