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Rolltier Bohemia Boii late 2 c. BC

In the tide of nationalism and revisionism which has marked the last century, our common European Celtic heritage has been systematically deconstructed, manipulated and denied. To balance this phenomenon, the BALKANCELTS organization presents the archaeological, numismatic, linguistic and historical facts pertaining to the Celts in Eastern Europe and Asia-Minor, within the context of the pan-European Celtic culture – a heritage which belongs to no nation, yet is common to all.

  

CIUMMM

Contact: Balkancelts@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Balkancelts

 

 

ACADEMIA.EDU:

http://ucd-ie.academia.edu/BrendanMacGonagle

mai-illust-new

 

 

 

 

Some of the finest examples of Iron Age European art are to be found on Celtic scabbards of the middle/late La Têne period – fantastic compositions born of anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometric motifs, or a combination thereof.

 

 

scabb-2

Detail of scabbard with Triskele decoration, from a Celtic burial at Novajidrány-Sárvár, Hungary. The triskele is a particularly common motif on Celtic scabbards and other protective military equipment.

(3rd c. BC)

https://www.academia.edu/11899946/An_Tr%C3%ADbh%C3%ADs_Mh%C3%B2r_-_On_The_Triskelion_in_Iron_Age_Celtic_Culture

 

 

srednica-n

Scabbard with Triskele decoration from a Celtic warrior burial at Srednica (Ptuj), Slovenia

(Late 4th / early 3rd c. BC)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/a-celtic-warrior-burial-from-srednica-northeastern-slovenia/

 

fork-edited-good

Geometric and Anthropomorphic decoration on scabbards from a Celtic hoard discovered at Förker Laas Riegel (Carinthia), Austria.

(3rd c. BC)

 

bronze-front-plate-of-scabbard-antrimskerrylisnacroghera-bog-c-250-bc-incised-symmetrical-curvilinear-decoration-representing-the-later-stages-of-irish-sword-styleantrim-scabb

Bronze front plate of a Celtic scabbard with incised symmetrical curvilinear decoration, discovered in Lisnacroghera Bog (Antrim), Ireland

(ca. 250 BC)

 

 

 

Celtic art draws its inspiration from all aspects of the natural world, and the artistic compositions on middle-late La Têne scabbards are no exception, with creatures of all kinds, both real and imaginary, appearing in the decoration of such scabbards.

 

a-frg-1

a-frg-2

Fantastic aquatic/serpentine creatures depicted in the decorative composition of a Celtic scabbard from Cernon-sur-Coole (Marne), France

(ca. 280 BC)

 

 

 

Beasts portrayed on Celtic scabbards range from highly stylized examples, such as those which appear on Dragon-Pair scabbards, to comparatively naturalistic portrayals.

 

 

chens-sur-leman-haute-savoie-lt-4th-early-3rd-c-bc-scabbard-detail

Celtic scabbard with dragon-pair motif from a Celtic warrior burial at Chens-sur-Léman in eastern France

(Late 4th/early 3rd c. BC)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/brotherhood-of-the-dragon-celtic-dragon-pair-scabbards/

 

 

fork-scabbard-4-c-bc

Geometric/zoomorphic composition on a Celtic scabbard from the Förker Laas Riegel hoard

 

 

 

 

 

A particularly interesting example of the diversity of creatures used to decorate Celtic scabbards of this period is a bronze sword scabbard mount discovered in Lincolnshire, England, the zoomorphic decoration on which bears a striking resemblance to a horse-fly complete with large protruding eyes and proboscis…

 

 

horse-fly-3

horse-fly-1

The Lincolnshire bronze scabbard mount (3 c. BC)

(Illustrations thanks to Adam and Lisa Grace)

 

horse-fly

Head of a Horse-Fly (Tabanus Atratus)

 

 

 

 

Postcards From The Past…

 

Celtic art functions on a number of levels (often simultaneously), merging reality, the subconscious and the absurd. While the modern mind may never fully comprehend the exact messages being conveyed, the artistic symphonies portrayed on Celtic scabbards provide a unique glimpse into the framework of religious and cultural values which motivated the Iron Age European population.

 

 

iron-la-tene-2-c-bc

Trio of dancing deer in the artistic composition on a Celtic scabbard from La Tène, Switzerland

(2 c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trumpet-2-ill

 

Discovered in a peat bog near the village of Gundestrup in Denmark in 1891, the Gundestrup Cauldron is the largest and finest example of Iron Age European silverwork (diameter: 69 cm (27 in); height: 42 cm (17 in.). Despite being discovered in Denmark, the workmanship and iconography on the cauldron indicate that it originated on the Balkans, either among the Thraco-Celtic (Scordisci) or possibly Celto-Scythian (Bastarnae) tribes, although the exact date and location of production is still uncertain.

 

 

gundestrup

The Gundestrup Cauldron

 

 

the-antlered-deity-of-the-gundestrup-cauldron-commonly-identified-with-cernunnos-holding-a-ram-horned-serpent-and-a-torc

Antlered deity on Plate A of the Gundestrup cauldron, identified with the Celtic God Cernunnos, holding a ram-horned serpent and torc.

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/cernunnos-and-the-ram-headed-serpent/

 

 

carnyxes

Celtic carnyx players depicted on Plate E of the Cauldron           

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/the-boar-headed-carnyx/

 

 

x-ray

X-radiograph of inner plate C 6575 showing details of traces from working tools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Gundestrup Ghosts’

 

While extensive academic attention has been paid to the cauldron’s iconography and origin over the past century, one fascinating element has been completely overlooked until recently. Scientific research on the back of the cauldron’s silver plate, using a fibre illumination unit, as well as silicone rubber moulds, epoxy resin replicas and macro photography, have revealed ‘Ghost Images’ unseen to the human eye for over 2,000 years.

 

The images, drawn lightly into the backs of the silver plates with a scriber and which are almost invisible to the naked eye, include a male figure 4.4 cm. discovered in the lower right corner on the back of inner plate C6572. The man is depicted in profile and blowing a horn instrument. It is worth noting that this instrument looks quite different from the relatively much longer instruments played by the three carnyx players depicted on the front of inner plate C6574.

 

 

trumpet-1

The Trumpet Player on Plate C6572

See:

https://www.academia.edu/1631111/THE_GUNDESTRUP_CAULDRON_New_Scientific_and_Technical_Investigations

 

 

 

On the back of inner plate  C6573 three drawings have been recorded, including a male head in profile near the right side at the middle, much like the horn player mentioned and believed to be the work of the same artist. Further images include the heads of two cats, likewise in profile, one of which was found over the male head near the upper corner. Corrections in the drawings of the latter creatures suggest that they may have been the theme of a discussion on the anatomy of cats. Also noteworthy is the fact that the cats are depicted in a way which could be characterized as ‘naturalistic’, i.e. not executed in the style generally associated with the imagery of the Gundestrup cauldron.

 

 

 

 

man-cat

Images of a male head and cat discovered on Plate C6573

 

 

 

 

While the exact purpose of the hidden images on the cauldron may forever remain unknown, the ‘ghosts’ may not be as mysterious as one may imagine. At present the most likely theory is that the back of the silver sheet served as a sort of artists ‘sketchpad two thousand years ago, before subsequently being used to produce the magnificent work of art as we know it today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“… a people … cruel and savage, and, as ancient history declares, accustomed to offer up their prisoners to Bellona and Mars, and from their hollowed skulls greedily to drink human blood”

(Ammianus Marcellinus Book 27: iv,4)

 

 

 

 

 

Zidovar m illust

 

 

 

Presented by Greek and Roman ‘historians’ as mindless savages, recent archaeological evidence from the central Balkans has thrown a completely different light on the Celtic Scordisci tribes who dominated this part of Europe from the 4th century BC until the Roman conquest. Most spectacular of these discoveries has been the hoard from Židovar, a Celtic oppidum (settlement) on the eastern border of the Deliblato Sands (Deliblatska Peščara), in the Banat (Vojvodina) region of modern Serbia.

 

zidovar opp hill

The Hill at Židovar today

 

 

Zid intor.

Silver bird pendants from the Židovar hoard

 

See:

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/celtic-scordisci-bird-pendants/

 

 

Zidovar chains

“Foxtail” chains from the hoard

 

https://www.academia.edu/7915664/Celtic_Foxtail_Necklaces

 

 

 

Although excavations have been carried out at the site since the 1940’s, it was not until 2001 that the most spectacular discovery was made. The rich hoard included 134 amber beads, a bronze mirror (with high tin content) and two pendants fashioned from brown bear teeth.

 

 

Mirror

Bronze mirror from the hoard

 

Zid Amber beads

Amber beads from the Židovar treasure

 

Beartooth

Brown Bear Tooth Pendants

 

 

 

 

The most fascinating part of the hoard consists of 163 silver objects, including fibulae/brooches of the Jarak type. In addition to these, the jewellery group contained pendants of different forms, two rings, three chains and small lidded cylindrical boxes made of silver sheet and decorated in filigree and granulation technique. Two folding razors and a mirror form the group of toiletry accessories of the Židovar treasure.

 

 

a jew box

Jewelry Box from Židovar

 

All 3 jewelry boxes from the hoard have a high percent of silver (average values over 95 wt%). Copper is the main alloying element (average values from 1.5–4 wt%). Lead contributes less then 1 wt%, and tin was not detected in the metal of any of the boxes.

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/barbarian-masterpieces-celtic-jewelry-boxes/

 

Fibula

Silver Fibula of the Jarak type from the hoard

 

 

 

While archaeological finds of Scordisci silver are known from several hoards in Serbia, such as Kovin, Jarak, Hrtkovci and Karaburma, the Židovar hoard is of particular significance, having been discovered in a clear archaeological context.

 

 

Pendantys X

Silver pendants from the Židovar Hoard

 

 

 

The origin of the silver that the Serbian Celts used for producing jewelry and minting silver coins has not yet been established with any degree of certainty. However, it is likely that a substantial amount came from the silver-lead mine at Kosmaj near the Celtic settlement of Singidunum (today’s Belgrade).

 

 

a silver finger rings

Silver Finger Rings from Židovar

 

Folding RAZOR

Folding Razor from the Židovar Treasure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DECE GREEN

 

While communist regimes on the Balkans may have fallen almost three decades ago, the legacy of political manipulation during that dark period in European history continues to undermine and distort archaeological research in the region

 

Full Article:

 

https://www.academia.edu/27923462/On_Communism_Nationalism_and_Pseudoarchaeology_in_Romania_and_Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petronnel 35 warrior

 

Popularly known as the site of a major Roman military camp and capital of the province of Pannonia Superior, recently published archaeological discoveries from the Petronell-Carnuntum area of Lower Austria have thrown new light on the pre-Roman (Celtic) population in this part of central Europe.

 

 

CARN

3-D Reconstruction of the later Roman city at Carnuntum

 

 

 

 

Excavated in 2003, but only recently published (Ramsl 2016), research at the Heideweg site in Petronell-Carnuntum revealed, besides 140 Roman burials, 7 graves from the La Têne B2 period, i.e. late 4th/early 3rd century BC. Of the 7 Celtic graves containing 8 burials, most notable included grave #7 where both cremation and inhumation burials were identified – a rare example of a bi-ritual burial from this period.

 

Burial 7

Burial #7 at the Heideweg site in Petronell-Carnuntum

 

 

 

A further remarkable burial at the site was burial #2A which furnished a rare example of the burial of a Celtic child. Aged between 3-6 years old the child was buried orientated s-n and grave goods included ceramic vessels, mutton and two bronze fibulae.

 

 

Petronnel 3 Childs

Child’s Burial 2A

 

 

 

Grave #35 at the Heideweg site provided a fascinating example of a Celtic warrior burial, complete with iron lance head, knife and sword. Other grave goods in the burial, of a man in his 40’s (orientated s-n), included ceramic vessels and an iron fibula. In 4 of the burials weapons were recorded and, with the exception of the child in burial #2A, all the deceased were men. This would tend to indicate that the excavated area represents only a small section of a much larger Celtic burial complex.

 

Petronnel 35 warrior

 

Petronnel 35 warrior sword detail

Warrior burial in grave #35, and detail of iron sword

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Report (Ramsl 2016/In German):

 

https://www.academia.edu/26796236/P.C._Ramsl_Lat%C3%A8nezeitliche_Gr%C3%A4ber_in_Petronell-Carnuntum_Krieger_bewaffnete_M%C3%A4nner_oder_einfach_Rollenbilder_einer_Gesellschaft_Beitr%C3%A4ge_zum_Tag_der_Nieder%C3%B6sterreichischen_Landesarch%C3%A4ologie_2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Bitmap Image 1 PAUNOV

 

 

Full text of the magnificent work of Dr. Evgeni Paunov of Cardiff University – From Koine to Romanitas: The numismatic evidence for Roman expansion and settlement in Bulgaria in Antiquity (Moesia and Thrace, ca. 146 BC – AD 98/117) – an overview of all the available ancient numismatic evidence from the territory of modern Bulgaria relating to the period between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD.

 

Besides an expansive study on all ancient coinage from this region pertaining to the period in question, for the first time since the Communist Period numismatic material relating to the later Celtic presence/settlement in Bulgaria  (2-1 century BC) is also presented in a comprehensive and objective manner:

 

 

 

Full Text:

https://www.academia.edu/11938672/From_Koine_to_Romanitas_The_numismatic_evidence_for_Roman_expansion_and_settlement_in_Bulgaria_in_Antiquity_Moesia_and_Thrace_ca._146_BC_AD_98_117_

 

 

 

New Bitmap Image 1 PAUNOV 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 -  ILLUST FRNT

 

 

Probably the most significant Celtic burial yet published from the territory of today’s Bulgaria is that of a Scordisci cavalry officer discovered in the Montana area in the north-west of the country. Dating to the La Têne C2/D1 period (late 2nd / early 1st c. BC)…

 

FULL ARTICLE:

 

https://www.academia.edu/26277623/A_CELTIC_SCORDISCI_CAVALRY_OFFICER_FROM_MONTANA_BULGARIA_

 

 

Chief Yakimovo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRO

 

 

 

Situated in the Opole district of Upper Silesia in Southern Poland, the Celtic center at Nova Cerekwia is located in a broad depression between the Sudetesland and the Carpathians – the Moravian Gate, which throughout antiquity served as a major communication route linking southern Europe and the Baltic Sea – commonly referred to as the Amber Route. Over the past century the site has attracted the attention of numerous researchers, both amateur and professional.

 

 

 

Site foto

The site at Nowa Cerekwia

 

Map s. Poland

Location of Nowa Cerekwia

 

 

In the pre-WW2 era the site was investigated by German archaeologists in the 1925-1938 period, notably by the extreme right-wing B. Von Richtofen (Richthofen 1926, 190–191; Richthofen 1927; Jahn 1931, 66–78, 148–149; Petersen 1935), during which period discoveries included a pottery kiln, 11 houses, six pits and a hearth, although other accounts from the period indicate that as many as 30 Celtic pit-houses may have been excavated at the settlement (Rudnicki 2014). Initial indications are that the settlement thrived between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC.

 

Kiln 1925

Celtic pottery kiln excavated at the site in 1925

 

 

 

Ex. 1936

Excavations at the Nova Cerekwia site in 1936

 

 

 

While a number of studies were undertaken at the site by Polish archaeologists in the post-war era (1957–1962, 1971 and 1973; Czerska 1959; 1960; 1976), due to the haphazard nature of research, and the fact that only a small proportion of the material was published, the full extent of the complex at Nova Cerekwia remained unclear. Indeed, until recently it had been believed that all available material pertaining to the Celtic settlement had been uncovered.

                                                                                                  

This misconception has been clarified over the past decades by the discovery of a wealth of new material by local ‘treasure hunters’, particularly due to the efforts of the local historians Igor Murawski and Anna Brzezinska, a phenomenon which finally prompted archaeologists to renew research at the site resulting in the discovery of  new structures as well as extensive numismatic and archaeological material (Rudnicki 2014).

 

zoo n coins

Celtic artifacts discovered by the historians Igor Murawski and Anna Brzezinska at the site

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-celts-in-poland/

 

 

Coins article

Celtic coinage uncovered at the site

 

 

 

 

 

Such recent finds have further confirmed Nova Cerekwia as one of the most significant archaeological sites in this area of Poland, indicating that it was a major settlement and center of inter-regional trade during the Celtic period. It is to be hoped that future systematic excavations at the site will finally establish the full extent of what promises to be the most important Celtic political/economic complex in this part of Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For an overview on the Celts in Poland:

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-celts-in-poland/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 

Czerska B. (1959), Osada z okresu późnolateńskiego koło Nowej Cerekwi w powiecie Głubczyce, ArchSl, 3, z. 18, 25–72.

Czerska B. (1960), Z badań wykopaliskowych na późnolateńskiej osadzie kultury celtyckiej w Nowej Cerekwii, pow. Głubczyce w 1960 roku, SSA, III, 7–12.

Czerska B. (1963) Wyniki badań późnolateńskiej osady kultury celtyckiej koło Nowej Cerekwi, pow. Głubczyce w latach 1958–1960, WA, 29/3, 289–311.

Czerska B. (1964) Sprawozdanie z badań osady celtyckiej w Nowej Cerekwi, pow. Głubczyce, w 1962 roku, SprArch, XVI, 124–131.

Czerska B. (1976) Osada celtycka koło wsi Nowa Cerekwia w powiecie Głubczyce w świetle najnowszych badań, StudiaArch, 7, 95–137.

Jahn M. (1933) Die älteste Münze aus Oberschlesien, IN: Matthes, W.–Raschke, G. (Hrsg.), Germanische Urzeit in Oberschlesien, Aus Oberschlesiens Urzeit, 20, Oppeln, 61–62.

Petersen E., Schlesien von der Eiszeit bis ins Mittelalter. Einfьhrung in die Vorund Frьhgeschichte des Landes, Berlin–Leipzig.

Von Richthofen B. (1926) Neue Ergebnisse der Vorgeschichtsforschung in Oberschlesien, Altschlesien, 1, 3–4, 185–198.

Von Richthofen B. (1927) Einfьhrung in die ur- und frьhgeschichtliche Abteilung des Museum Ratibor, Ratibor.

Rudnicki M. (2014) Nowa Cerekwia. A Celtic Centre for Craft and Commerce of Interregional Importance North of the Carpathians. In:  Iron Age Crafts and Craftsmen in the Carpathian Basin Proceedings of the International Colloquium from Targu Mureş 10–13 October 2013. Targu Mureş 2014. pp. 33-70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

FIRST ILLUST

 

 

The emergence of the first European (non-classical) coinage has hitherto been explained by a vague and unsupported theory that it appeared ‘somewhere in Central Europe’ after 275 BC, based on Macedonian issues brought back by Celtic mercenaries. However, recent archaeological / numismatic evidence from Eastern Europe has seriously undermined this oft repeated but unsubstantiated theory, and finally provided some scientific clarity on the chronology of this phenomenon, as well as furnishing surprising information regarding the motivation behind the first Celtic coinage…

 

FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.academia.edu/25857737/AB_OVO_-_The_First_Celtic_Coinage

 

 

 

Celtic imitations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSEP intro illust.

 

 

 

The largest island on the Hungarian Danube,  Csepel Island in Budapest has provided a wealth of archaeological material pertaining to many cultures including a Celtic bi-ritual cemetery with 59 inhumation and 28 cremation graves, dating largely from the La Têne B1 – C1 period, i.e. late 4th – 3rd century BC. While a more comprehensive account of the Celtic burials from Csepel Island is provided elsewhere (see link below), of particular interest is warrior burial #149 at the site.

 

Locally produced ceramic from the cremation burial (110 cm long X 85 cm deep, orientated n-s) showed Scythian influence, and included two large vessels, two small jugs, and two bowls; metal objects consisted of an iron knife, bronze/iron bracelet and weapons.

 

 

CERMIC x

                           Ceramic Vessels from Burial #149

 

(Illustrations after Attila Horváth 2014)

 

 

 

 

Military equipment discovered in the northwestern part of burial #149 consisted of a large leaf-shaped spearhead with a narrow socket, winged shield umbo, sword chain and sword/scabbard. The latter was the only one of 8 Celtic swords from the burial complex to be discovered in its decorated scabbard.

 

weapons

Metal artifacts from Burial #149

 

 

 

Besides the ceramic vessels mentioned above, a further noteworthy find registered in the warrior burial was a Celtic/Danubian kantharos with anthropomorphic handles. One of a pair of kantharoi from the grave, this vessel is believed to have been made especially for the burial. 

 

CERMIC Kantharos

Kantharos with anthropomorphic handles from Celtic burial #149 at Csepel Island

 

 

 

Such Danubian kantharoi represent a ceramic category adopted by the eastern Celts from a range of vessels specific to the Mediterranean region and, as in the case of the example from burial #149 at Csepel Island, appear to have had special religious significance.

 

 

BLANDIANA kantharos

Kantharos with anthropomorphic handles from a Celtic burial at Blandiana (Alba County), Romania

 

See:

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/the-archaeology-of-heads/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Celtic burial Complex from Csepel Island:

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/celtic-budapest-the-burial-complex-from-csepel-island/

 

 

Full report on burial #149:

https://www.academia.edu/13495605/Attila_Horv%C3%A1th_M._Kantharoi_from_the_La_T%C3%A8ne_Period_Cemetery_Budapest_-_Csepel_Island._In_M._Gu%C5%A1tin_W._David_eds._The_Clash_of_Cultures_The_Celts_and_the_Macedonien_World._Schriften_des_Kelten-R%C3%B6mer-Museums_Manching_9_Manching_2014_247-258_in_print_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail