A 3,000-year-old wishing well with a trove of finely crafted ceramics and jewelry was found by archaeologists in Germering, a town in Germany outside Munich, according to a statement from the Bavarian State Office for Monument Protection in late December. The Office said it believes the Bronze Age inhabitants would have offered the items as part of a ritual.
Archaeologists have been excavating the area in advance of construction on a new distribution center since 2021, during which time they’ve discovered more than 70 wells dug between the Bronze to early Middle Ages. At that time, the wells would have provided local settlements with their water supply.
The wishing well, however, yielded 26 bronze clothing pins and more than 70 pieces of ceramics, including decorative cups, bowls, and pots. The team also uncovered a bracelet, two metal spirals, an animal tooth, four amber beads, a wooden scoop, and various plant remains.
At 16 feet deep, the well’s original depth suggests that it was dug at a time when groundwater levels were considerably low. Archaeologists believe that the residents were suffering from poor harvests after a prolonged drought, which is why they offered their prized possessions in exchange.
“Even today, fountains have something magical about them for many people,” explained Mathias Pfeil, leader of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Protection. “They drop coins in the hope that their wishes will be granted.” The artifacts, he continued, may have been “intended as sacrifices for a good harvest.”
Despite the wet conditions, the well’s “wooden walls are completely preserved on the ground and partly still moistened by groundwater,” notes Jochen Haberstroh, an archaeologist at the Bavarian State Office for Monument Protection, in the statement. “That also explains the good condition of the finds made of organic materials.”
The recovered artifacts will eventually join roughly 13,500 other archaeological finds at the ZEIT+RAUM, Germering’s city museum.