Friday, January 7, 2011

New Celtic tomb found

At the Heuneburg hill fort in southwest Germany, already the sight of a good deal of archaeological work, the undisturbed tomb of what they believe was a Celtic noblewoman has been found. The tomb is around 2600 years old, which places it at the time of the Bronze Age western "Hallstatt D" culture, which was transitioning into the Iron Age Celtic La Tène culture.

So why is this interesting? Well, Heuneburg was an important Celtic settlement; it's possible that it's the city of Pyrene mentioned by Herodotus:
For the Ister [Danube] flows from the land of the Celts and the city of Pyrene through the very middle of Europe — History 2.33.3

There are dozens of graves that have already been found, but most were either destroyed by the elements, or robbed in antiquity; it's rare that modern archaeologists are able to find an undisturbed inhumation.

To get an idea of what an aristocrat's tomb can look like, check out this reconstruction of the Hochdorf tomb, which dates to 530 BC, not that long (archaeologically speak) after the recently-found tomb, and only about twenty miles away:

Click on picture to see original on Wikipedia

(What you can't see, off to the top right, is a giant cauldron, originally filled with 100 gallons of mead. Also found were golden shoes, a gold-leafed dagger, and other precious items.)

Hopefully, the public will soon see what's been found; Heuneburg is already the site of a reconstructed Celtic village.

The location of Heuneburg:

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