Medieval ‘folding chair’ discovered

German archaeologists discovered a very unique item during excavations last year: a folding chair dated to the 6th century. After a year of research they are revealing what they know about the object.

The iron frame of this chair was discovered in a woman’s grave at the village of Endsee, located in central Germany. It was taken to the workshops of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation (BLfD) for further investigations. A computer tomographic examination quickly made it clear that the folding chair was almost completely preserved and was even decorated with inlays, in this case non-ferrous metal inlays made of brass.

Exposed folding chair in found partially erect position – Photo courtesy BLfD

The folding chair consists of two frames connected with an axle pin, and there are two narrow slots on the horizontal struts. These were used to attach the seat, which was probably made of animal fur, as indicated by mineralized organic remains. The decorative motifs range from spirals to diamonds to herringbone patterns.

Folding chair, detail diamonds and spirals – Photo courtesy BLfD

“The extremely rare discovery of an early medieval iron folding chair in August 2022 was already a sensation, but the fact that such a density of details was preserved after remaining in the ground for over 1,400 years was a surprise even for the BLfD experts,” says Mathias Pfeil, head of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation. “Using the most modern technology and highly experienced scientific support, the spectacular, internationally acclaimed find of the century could literally be put back on its feet.”


The folding chair was found as a grave offering from a female burial. According to an initial anthropological assessment, she died between the ages of 40 and 50. Remains of wooden cladding suggest a closed burial chamber. In addition to the woman’s grave, the archaeologists also uncovered a man’s grave, which was in an almost parallel arrangement and had richly decorated weapons.

View of skeleton with grave goods folding chair – Photo courtesy BLfD

Top Image: Folding chair in reconstructed standing position – Photo courtesy BLfD