Was it

Susanne Friederich

Her present specialty, the Young Stone Age, has fascinated Dr. Susanne Friederich (born 1970) ever since she started studying Art History, Classical Archaeology and Pre- and Early History at the Albertus Magnus University in Cologne. She changed to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, where along with Pre- and Early History she also studied Anthropology, Geology and Provincial Roman Archaeology. A research visit took her to the University of Bern, before she then graduated in Frankfurt with Magister Artium (Pre- and Early History, Anthropology, Geology).

For her thesis on middle Neolithic settlements in central Neckarland submitted in 2002, she was awarded the Friedrich Sperl Prize for Advancement of the Humanities. She then held positions at the State Office for Archaeology in Saxony, the Institute of Pre- and Early History at the University of Cologne and the Städtischen Museum Heilbronn. Since 2007 she is head of the department of state-wide conservation of archaeological monuments at the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt – State Museum of Prehistory.

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Nine bodies, lots of questions

Five thousand years ago, nine people died in Salzmünde – under mysterious circumstances. Were they burned alive? Or were they murdered? A group of researchers is investigating the historical mystery.

Catastrophe or ritual?

Investigations bear the first results: the researchers can now rule out a house fire as cause of death. Have they found evidence of some kind of death cult?

Broken fragments with a history

The researchers in Halle piece together a puzzle to see what they can find: they fit the huge number of shards together. Do the resulting jugs, amphorae and mugs reveal further clues to the mystery of Salzmünde?

Archaeological treasure trove

The dead people of Salzmünde go on a journey – safely packed in cases, for the State Museum in Halle wants to exhibit them. With this in mind, the researchers have thought up a very special exhibition technique.

Earlier find

Surprising photographic evidence: the researchers find photos of earlier found graves. At that time a number of mysterious multiple graves had also been discovered. Did the earthwork have a special significance for burials?

Hidden in the teeth

The criminal investigation moves to Mainz and the Institute of Anthropology: What can the bones and teeth of the dead people tell the experts about their age, origin, and family relationships? The results come as a great surprise to the whole team.

Speaking bones

The bones of the dead people of Salzmünde confront the anthropologists with yet another mystery: they have discovered a fracture in one of the skulls, possibly caused by an act of violence. So was it a crime after all?

Meeting of experts

The archaeologists from Halle and the anthropologists from Mainz come together to discuss the status of their research. Will they be able to solve the mystery of the nine-person burial?
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*) The Project

Detective skills are called for: In a burial ground dating back four thousand years BC, a team of researchers led by archaeologist Susanne Friederich stumble across a collective grave. Nine people were buried here over 5,000 years ago – four adult women and five children. Who were they? Were they mothers buried with their children? Did they die as result of a catastrophe – a fire perhaps? Or were they the victims of some kind of ritual sacrifice? The researchers begin their detective work.

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