David BIBBY | Benjamin HÖKE
(Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg im Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Esslingen, Germany)

Keywords: Necropolis, computer tomography, anthropology, GIS

One of the most well-known and largest early medieval necropoles in Western Europe lies near the small town of Lauchheim in Baden-Württemberg, South West Germany. Totaling round 1400 in-humations dating from 5th – 7th Century AD, it was completely excavated between 1986 – 1996. Due to the high frequency of finds and the fragility of some of the bone material, much use was made of block lifting. Some blocks remain unopened till today. The good state of preservation and the juxtaposition of the necropolis with a contemporary settlement, which was also extensively excavated, set the stage for an extensive social-historical analysis of a local early medieval community over two centuries. Analysis of the grave good and anthropological appraisal have been combined and structured in a specially designed Database containing over 30,000 individual entries. A GIS Map of the site, arduously piped from the original hand drawings via vectorization software and CAD into Open Source GIS, allows for perspicuous visualization of any combination of anthropological data and/or finds and contributes greatly to the understanding of the development of the necropolis. Since 2008 the Lauchheim Project has been supported by the German Research Council, allowing innovative conservation and documentation methods including complete anthropological examination, 3D computer tomography of the unopened blocks (with sometimes surprising results) and the extensive examination of organic material and textiles.
This contribution will be the first English language progress report on the development archaeological and anthropological analysis of the Lauchheim findings and, especially their visualization in GIS.

Relevance conference | Relevance session:
Innovative project showing the progress from “low tech” conventional Excavation of 1980s-1990s to “high tech” analysis of the results in 21st century.

Use of laboratory conditions for opening the blocks to get maximum information, use of 3D tomography, innovative use of GIS for cememtary analysis.