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November 2003 - Nr. 11


The Editor
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Luther's Home Searched
Grimm's Dictionary
Berlin's Worth
Economy to get stronger
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Newton Donates Works
No Growth w/o Reforms
Read Out Loud
New Waterway
VW Designer

at Luther’s family home

   TWIG - The old adage is valid even today — you can tell a lot about a person from his trash.

Archeologists in Mansfeld, Germany are doing just this, having uncovered a treasure trove of artifacts outside the childhood home of religious reformer Martin Luther. Buried under the earth outside of Luther’s parents’ property in the small German town in Saxony-Anhalt are 500-year-old clues to the religious reformer’s early life.

Mansfeld, the self-named "Luther City," began a project in 2002 to revamp its sewage system — which led a bulldozing team to the edge of Luther Street, where the family home was located. At the property’s edge, they first came across a basin, then the family’s personal refuse pit, with its 500 year-old contents.

Archeologists note that the items in the pit are that of a wealthy medieval family. "Almost noble, all the things they had to eat," commented an excavator on the family’s diet. What remains are predominantly the bones of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and singing birds — a delicacy that was traded at markets through the 18th century.

Besides food remains, the archeologists also found belt buckles, small metal flowers, needles, and a whistle. The head of the excavation team called it a "quite wonderful medieval spectrum."

Perhaps the most remarkable discovery is Luther’s mother’s brass thimble, a small clue that adds to what historians know about life in the Middle Ages.

While growing up in Mansfeld, Luther (1483-1546) attended the Mansfeld Latin School. He lived at the location until 1497, when he left for further study in Magdeburg. His childhood home was torn down in 1805.

As a theology professor at the University of Wittenberg, Luther kick-started the Protestant Reformation with his 95 Theses, a polemic against the practices of the medieval Catholic church.


Luther Museum in Wittenberg


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