Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt
Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte
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Hoards

The hoard from Dieskau (Saalekreis, Saxony-Anhalt) includes all the typical metal forms of the early bronze age: ‘eyelet rings' (Ösenringe), halberd blades and axeheads (© LDA Sachsen-Anhalt, Foto: Juraj Lipták)

From the Atlantic coast to the Black Sea, from southern Sweden to the Mediterranean, people hid deposits of metal during the bronze age - gifts for the gods. This sacrificial custom is characterised by strict rules. Only objects of value to gods and men were deposited. These treasures are an expression of a dialogue with the gods. We interpret them as the end-result of a sacrificial ritual - the final step in a rite that is unknown to us. However,  structures can be identified in these treasures: some places are picked out again and again as the site of a deposit, fixed sets of items appear in the hoards, and certain types of bronze object are preferred. In central Germany at the start of the 2nd millennium BC, these favoured objects included impressive single items like halberds, but also unremarkable forms like rings and axeheads. About 800 years later, in contrast, we find mostly sickles in the hoards.