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Early sacrificial site at the geographical heart of Germany

The Vogtei sacrificial site near Mühlhausen in Thuringia was a place of pagan worship from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages. Peat diggers discovered the ritual site on the moorland outside Niederdorla in 1947. The subsequent archaeological finds cover a period spanning more than 1,000 years of religion practised by the ancient people of the region.
Steeped in the mythology of the late Graeco-Roman period and early Middle Ages, the Vogtei sacrificial site is the largest pagan site in Thuringia to have undergone archaeological investigation. For centuries, it was used by the Germanic tribes to worship their gods and to honour them with sacrifices. Excavations have even confirmed that humans were sacrificed. The site was established in the 6th century BC, which is also the period of origin of one of its more notable finds: a rectangular fire altar made of shell limestone.
This was used to prepare ritual meals in a variety of vessels and to make offerings of food. At the centre of the grounds, numerous bones belonging to sacrificed animals have been found in the area around a large open-air altar. Fragments of skull from the human sacrifices were discovered on the western edge of the site. Other interesting relics include the two shrines in the shape of ships from the 5th century AD.
At the open-air exhibition devoted to this Celto-Germanic cult site, visitors make their way through the moorland reeds to the ritual and sacrifice areas, which replicate those from the early Iron Age to the great migration of peoples. A Germanic village has been authentically reconstructed using the original techniques used 2,000 years previously. The exhibition pavilion documents the history of the sacred site by means of models and archaeological finds. These include altars, wooden deity figures and the remains of human and animal sacrifices dating from the 6th century BC to the 7th century AD. The site also doubles as an events venue. Open daily but weather conditions may restrict opening times in winter. Guided tours are available on request.



A4, B247, Mühlhausen train station