The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


November 3, 2008

Germany: Luther's trash found in archeological dig

Archaeologists have discovered Martin Luther's kitchen trash, revealing new personal information about the father of the Protestant Reformation, the German publication Der Spiegel reports.

The dig that started in 2003 took place at three different excavation sites in Germany: Luther's parents' house in the town of Mansfeld, his estate in Wittenberg, and the floor of the building where he was born in Eisleben.

So far, archaeologists have found broken dishes, food remains, toys, and what they think is his wife's wedding ring along with 250 silver coins. The German State Museum of Prehistory was scheduled to unveil the Luther discoveries Friday (Oct. 31) to coincide with Reformation Day.

The article claims that the new discoveries reveal that Luther "fudged his parents' social circumstances," and that his family was more affluent than Luther claimed they were. But Luther's adult home was "in keeping with his economic standing."

Archaeologists have also found book bindings, "quill knives" used to sharpen quill pens, and four writing sets with sand, ink and styluses.

While the museum catalog claims the discoveries of Luther's personal items allow "entire chapters in human life" to be re-examined, Germany's Protestant congregations do not think the findings are religiously relevant, according to Der Spiegel.

Ashley Gipson

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