Publicada por Arith Härger / 5:41 PM /
To this day the celts are still a strong subject which awakens the interest of many. Although with each passing year we are coming to the conclusion that the celts were not a people but merely a culture withdly spread, and that in fact the "celts" are thousands of different peoples who have adopted "celtic" cultural, political and religious similarities, it's still a fascinating subject. The more we dig the past, the better we can understand how our ancestors lived, and when it comes to study a culture which left nothing writen behind, and the only records are from outsiders or from people who lived long after the culture they are trying to discribe was already the stuff of legend, it's always difficult to comprehend the true nature of bygone population who shared a certain traditional background. Fortunately, archaeology has given us new insights on how the "celts" conducted their lives, what were their traditions, political and religious consciousness and, of course, their daily activities.
At the end of the 70's of the last century, a celtic burial chamber was found near Hochdorf an der Enz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. A richly furnished chieftain's burial mound dating back to, more or less, year 530 BC. The interred subject in this grave, laid out upon a lavishly decorated 9 ft (275 cm) bronze couch on wheels, was about 40 years old and unusually tall for a person of the Iron Age (being a bit over 6ft tall (182 cm)). Judging by the objects found in the grave, this man had probably been a chieftain.
I've said this before, and here it goes again, we archaeologists spend a lot of time with the dead, it's true. The dead (well, their resting places) provide us with a lot of information about the societies of the past especially the votive objects which are, most of the time, what people gave much importance to. The graves of people who were highly respected and revered by the community of their time, are always the ones with a lot of artefacts, and these give us a lot of clues in how the societies of the time functioned.
The well-preserved funerary objects of this grave provided a lot of knowledge into the world of the rulers of these societies during the late Iron Age. This chieftain had been buried with a gold-plated torc on his neck which is clearly a symbol of power and strength; amber jewelry which have always been a "must-have" material, due to its rarety, since the Paleolithic; a gold-plated dagger made of bronze and iron, that we must not forget that this was the age of metals and such weapons had no use in war but were merely symbols of power and prestige; a bracelet on his right arm, a nail clipper, a comb, fishing hooks, a flat cone-shaped hat made of birch bark adorned with circle patterns and punched decorations, arrows, a razor knife, and thin embossed gold plaques were on his now-disintegrated shoes. At this man's feet was a large bronze cauldron, filled with honeyed-mead. The entrance to the burial mound was facing north, and the mound itself was surrounded by a stone ring and oak posts. The east side of the tomb contained an iron-plated, wooden, four-wheeled wagon holding a set of bronze dishes – along with the drinking horns found on the walls, enough to serve nine people. The one reserved for the host was delicately decorated with gold, the tip being adorned with beads made of bones.
Nearby the burial mound, a museum dedicated to the grave was built, and fortunately enough during the construction of museum the foundations of an ancient Celtic village were found - probably the one to which the chieftain belonged to.