Meet The 3,000 Year Old Magical Device That Has Been Unearthed

While excavating in a Bavarian city, archaeologists unearthed around 70 wells — none of which was as abundant with treasure as the most recent find. Water is essential to life and providing it has been an utmost priority since ancient civilizations; springs were thus ritualized and designated sacred sites by people who believed that water could grant them spiritual insight or health benefits. These natural sources would be transformed into ‘wells’ surrounded by stones for stability purposes, becoming meeting places for citizens to congregate together at and share stories throughout generations.

Since prehistory, wishing wells have been a beloved part of European folklore. People believed that if they threw gold coins into the well, their wishes would be granted. This tradition has evolved over time and is now seen in town centers where many people throw coins into fountains as an act of goodwill or to make a wish come true!

A Wishing Well Packed With Ancient Artifacts

Since 2021, there have been excavations occurring at Germering in Fürstenfeldbruck district, Bavaria; and archaeological artifacts reveal that this area has had human inhabitants for up to 9 millennia. In addition, evidence supports the fact that people have been cultivating crops here for over 4 thousand years.

To date, the town of Germering has seen over 13,500 archaeological finds and 70 water wells unearthed – mostly from the Bronze Age and early Middle Ages. But nothing could compare to what was uncovered in a new distribution center during construction: an incredibly preserved five-meter-deep well filled with ritual deposits that dated back 3,000 years ago. Such a discovery at a wishing well had never been found at any other excavation site before.

Sacrifices For A Good Harvest

A report on Archaeonews details that researchers examined dirt layers at the base of the well and discovered “70 richly decorated bowls, cups and pots, the type normally found in Middle Bronze Age burials placed as grave goods”. Every vessel had been carefully placed at the bottom of this well and were miraculously preserved without any damage. Moreover, bronze garment pins, metal spirals, and a animal tooth pendant wrapped in metal were all found within it as additional artifacts.

Mathias Pfeil, an expert from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments, reveals that even now people are dropping coins into wells and fountains in hopes of having their wishes come true. Evidently, what motivated our ancestors to leave precious goods in these waterways some 3000 years ago remains a mystery; however, archaeologists believe this was done as “sacrifices for a good harvest” according to Pfeil.

Not Just the Germanic People

The Celts also loved their wishing wells.

The Celtic culture especially embraced the concept of offering tokens to appease the spirits by tossing them into wells. This is seen in Northumberland where Coventina, a goddess who reigned over healing and childbirth, had her own renowned well. To honor her presence near this source of spring water, people built a tiny temple for Coventina’s worship. Several offerings were made there throughout history from 407 C.E., such as coins, glass pieces, buttons and beads that archeologists have recovered during their excavations.

Sacred Waters

An enduring Norse legend tells of Mimir, a water deity who dwelt in the Well of Wisdom and kept watch over its holy waters. Each day he drank from the well’s depths, cementing his reputation as an unparalleled font of sagacity throughout the land. Desperately seeking to preserve the world, Odin sought a sip from the Well of Wisdom. Yet Mimir, keeper of this knowledge, would only offer access in exchange for a substantial payment: his right eye. Eventually agreeing to pay this hefty price tag, Odin threw his eye into the well as an example that wisdom comes at great cost and should not be taken lightly.


author avatar
William Conroy Editor in Chief
Meet William. He graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in History, concentrating on global and comparative history. He has spent his lifetime researching and studying everything related to ancient history, civilizations, and mythology. He is fascinated with exploring the rich history of every region on Earth, diving headfirst into ancient societies and their beliefs. His curiosity about how ancient civilizations viewed the world and how those views affected their belief systems and behaviors is what drives him.