September 13, 2011

Petriplatz - Wo Berlin Begann!

My colleague Claudia Melisch, who excavates at Petriplatz, made me aware of a petition campaign to encourage the Berlin senate to fund archaeological excavation and analysis at the site.  The subtitle of the project - Wo Berlin Begann - means Where Berlin Began.

Claudia Melisch in the finds lab
Excavations at the site have been ongoing for years and have revealed that beneath Petriplatz lie the remains of the earliest settlement in the modern era, including over 2,300 skeletons.  Tradition has it that immigrants from Cologne moved east and founded the city of Cölln, in the contemporary suburbs of Berlin.  Most interesting is that the cemetery dates to about 1200 AD, or several centuries earlier than anyone expected.  Cologne has very unique geology, meaning a strontium isotope study of the teeth of the people buried at Petriplatz should tell us if the founders of Berlin were indeed immigrants from Cologne.

I'll be involved with the Petriplatz Project doing the strontium isotope analysis, provided Claudia is successful in her bid for funding. So we need your help!  Please take a minute to click through to the website and add your name to the growing list of supporters.  There's a version in English, but you'll have to click back under Ihre Meinung to sign the petition.

Archaeologists excavating three of the
2,300 skeletons found at Petriplatz


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