In 1934, workers excavating a canal in Saxan-Anhalt, Germany, near the town of Bad Dürrenberg, uncovered a remarkable grave. It contained the body of a woman aged 25 to 35, sitting upright, and, between her legs, an infant 4 to 6 months old. The entire grave was covered in red ochre. She was surrounded by a remarkable assortment of artifacts, most them made from the bones and teeth of animals. And not just one or two types of animal, but eight: deer antlers and teeth, wolf teeth, beaver teeth, turtle shells, boar's tusks, mussel shells, aurochs horns, and longbones from cranes.
Everyone agrees that she was a shaman. This somewhat ridiculous reconstruction conveys, I think, how very strange she must have looked dressed up in all these animal parts. She must have been very much respected by her people to have been buried in such an elaborate way. Her neck vertebrae had a peculiar anatomy; according to the doctors who examined the bones, she would have been able to crimp the blood flow into her head by holding her head at a certain angle, which might have helped her enter trances more easily visit the spirit realm.