This week in news history, August 28

A medieval folding chair discovered in Germany, a huge Roman phallus statue found in Spain, an 800-year-old murder victim discovered in England.

A folding chair found in a 1,400-year-old grave of an elite woman in southern Germany

Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of MonumentsThe chair was discovered in the Middle Franconia region of Bavaria and is believed to date from the early Middle Ages, around 600 AD

For decades, archaeologists have been uncovering burial sites with folding chairs across Europe, all dating from the early Middle Ages and all women’s cemeteries – but even experts remain confused as to what it means.

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Now, researchers in Germany have discovered another such chair in Bavaria, this one found in the tomb of a middle-aged elite woman buried around AD 600. While experts speculate that the chair was a status symbol, no one really knows why it would have been carefully placed at his feet during his burial.

Learn more about this amazing discovery here.

Archaeologists just discovered a huge Roman phallic statue in Spain – and it could be the largest ever found

Roman phallus

The municipality of Nueva CarteyaThe ancient Romans considered phalluses a sign of good luck and protection.

When archaeologists excavated the El Higuerón archaeological site in Cordoba, Spain, they discovered a surprising sight. There, carved into the foundation of the building, was the largest Roman phallus they had ever seen.

Excavation director Andrés Roldán said that although phalluses are common finds at Roman archaeological sites, the carving from Nueva Cartey was “unusually large”.

Read more in this report.

Scientists in England may have solved ‘cold case’ of 17 people thrown down a well 800 years ago

Medieval bones in an English well

Giles Emery / NPS ArchaeologyThe bodies were discovered in a strange arrangement, suggesting that they had not been buried, but had been thrown head first.

In 2004, construction of a new shopping center in Norwich, England, revealed a jumble of bones at the bottom of an 800-year-old medieval well. Based on their location, scientists determined they were thrown headfirst. Now, thanks to DNA analysis, scientists have a better idea of ​​who these people were and how they might have died.

See more here.

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