Hochdorf: Personal Items Buried in the Tomb

The body of the deceased was richly ornamented with gold jewelry and other items. Numerous additional finds attest to the extreme care and attention to detail with which the burial goods were assembled.

The textiles that lined the wooden chamber, wrapped the vessels and, together with plants and animal furs, cushioned the body of the deceased on the couch, have only been preserved in a few places through contact with bronze. They were colorful and brightly patterned with linear geometric motifs that recall those used in the gold belt and dagger coverings, the shoe ornaments and jewelry.


Examples of textiles from walls, reconstructed

after Hundt 1985, figs 128-129

The "chieftain's" dagger with its gold foil covering may have been of more ceremonial than practical function. In contrast, a simple iron knife in a wooden scabbard, an enormous axe, three sharp iron fishhooks, and a quiver full of arrows (of which only 13 iron and one bronze arrowhead are preserved), are clearly utilitarian items. Special care was given the fishhooks, which were placed inside a cloth pouch laid on the breast of the deceased. The pouch was trimmed with leather strips covered with small bronze bosses arranged in linear patterns. Perhaps fishing meant something special to the "chieftain"?


Axe, max. W 17 cm; spikes, max L 28 cm

after Biel 1985, fig. 179

Iron fishhooks, max H. 5 cm
Leather scrap from cloth pouch, pres. L 12 cm

after Biel 1985, fig. 156, 157


Some of the objects are not obvious in their function: an iron spike, several smaller instruments or tools of bronze and bone or antler, may have had their use in the man's hunting or fishing activities, or they may have formed part of his personal toilette. Clearly belonging to the latter category are a huge iron razor-blade, a poorly-preserved comb, and an iron nail-trimmer.

Razor blade with cloth wrapping, L 22.8 cm

after Biel 1985, fig. 157


Whether the amber beads, carefully turned and polished, were worn purely as jewelry, or whether they had some further significance as amulets, cannot now be determined.


Amber beads, ca. 1 cm Dia.

after Biel 1985, fig. 155

The birch-bark hat was found at the head of the couch, together with the remains of the comb. The hat is simple and conical in shape; not very regal to our eyes. However, it was very carefully decorate dwith row upon row of stamped designs. It is now recognised that the Hirschlanden "warrior" wears a very similar hat. Undoubtedly more than a sun-hat, this delicate headgear must have formed some part of the regalia


Hirschlanden "warrior"

Birch-bark hat, reconstructed, two views, 34.5 cm Dia

after Biel 1985, fig. 153, 154