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Anthropol Anz. 2013;70(3):289-307.

Local and foreign males in a late Bronze Age cemetery at Neckarsulm, south-western Germany: strontium isotope investigations.

Author information

  • 1State Office for Cultural Heritage Management Baden-Wuerttemberg, Konstanz, Germany.
  • 2Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


The cemetery of Neckarsulm in southwestern Germany was discovered in 2001 and contained the inhumation graves of 50 individuals in 32 graves. The cemetery was in use for about 50 years during the Late Bronze Age (Urnfield culture, Hallstatt A1 period). The individuals who could confidently be identified were almost exclusively adult males. The majority of the skeletal remains exhibit specialized facets that most likely resulting from horseback riding. Several characteristics make this cemetery very unusual: The inhumations in contrast to normal cremation in this time period, the large number of multiple burials, the uniform sex and age of the deceased. There is no information concerning the cause of death of the individuals from the cemetery. Isotopic analysis was used for diet and mobility investigation. Diet for these individuals was relatively homogeneous and included both terrestrial and freshwater species. Tooth enamel from 37 individuals was analysed for strontium and oxygen isotopes. Almost one-third of the individuals in the sample exhibited non-local strontium isotope ratios and likely came from different areas in southwest Germany.

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