Bronze Age Egtved Girl found in Denmark came from the Black Forest

Egtved Girl's grave, from 1370 BC. Image: The National Museum of Denmark

Egtved Girl's grave, from 1370 BC. Image: The National Museum of Denmark

The remains of the Bronze Age Egtved Girl were discovered within a barrow outside Egtved, Denmark in 1921. However, strontium isotope analyses of the girl’s teeth shows that she was born and raised outside Denmark’s current borders, and the girl’s hair and a thumb nail also show that she travelled great distances in the last two years of her life.

The wool from the Egtved Girl’s clothing, the blanket she was covered with, and the oxhide she was laid to rest on in the oak coffin all originate from a location outside present-day Denmark.

Different provenance analyses

The combination of the different provenance analyses indicates that the Egtved Girl, her clothing, and the oxhide come from Schwarzwald (“the Black Forest”) in South West Germany – as do the cremated remains of a six-year-old child who was buried with the Egtved Girl. The girl’s coffin dates the burial to a summer day in the year 1370 BC.

It is senior researcher Karin Margarita Frei, from the National Museum of Denmark and Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen, who has analysed the Egtved Girl’s strontium isotope signatures. The analyses have been carried out in collaboration with Kristian Kristiansen from the University of Gothenburg and the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management and the Centre for GeoGenetics, both University of Copenhagen.

Read the full open access paper – Tracing the dynamic life story of a Bronze Age Female