The Egtved Girl (c. 1390–1370 BC) was a Nordic Bronze Age girl whose well-preserved remains were discovered outside Egtved in 1921. Aged 16–18 at death, she was slim, 160 cm tall, had short, blond hair and well-trimmed nails. Her burial has been dated by dendrochronology to 1370 BC. She was discovered in a barrow approximately 30 metres wide and 4 metres high. Only the girl's hair, brain, teeth, nails and little skin remain preserved.
The barrow was excavated in 1921, and an east-western aligned coffin was found. It was transported in sealed condition to the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, where it was opened and the Egtved Girl discovered. She was buried fully dressed on a cowhide in the coffin. She wore a loose bodice with sleeves reaching the elbow. She had a bare waist and wore a short string skirt. She had bronze bracelets and a woolen belt with a large disc decorated with spirals and a spike. At her feet were the cremated remains of a child age 5–6. By her head there was a small birch bark box which contained an awl, bronze pins and a hair net.
Before the coffin was closed she was covered with a blanket and a cowhide. Flowering yarrow (indicating a summer burial) and a bucket of beer made of wheat, honey, bog-myrtle and cowberries were placed atop. Her distinctive outfit, which caused a sensation when it was unearthed in the 1920s, is the best preserved example of a style now known to be common in Northern Europe during the Bronze Age. The good preservation of Egtved girl is due to the acidic bog conditions of the soil, which is a common condition of this locale.
The outfit was reconstructed for the National Museum of Denmark by the Lejre Experimental Centre and is on display there. A reconstructed set of clothes, as well as details of the excavation, are on display in the Egtved Girl's museum at the excavation site.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.