BROTHERS IN ARMS – A double Celtic warrior burial from Szabadi (Hungary)

UD: June 2019



The village of Szabadi (Somogy county) is situated on the Kapos river in southern Hungary, circa 2.5 km. from the Iron Age oppidum at Szalacska. South of the village a Celtic burial site, used from the end of the 4th – early 2nd c. BC, yielded 12 cremation burials including 3 female graves and 5 warrior burials (# 1,4,5,11 and 12).


s map f.

Location of the site



During rescue excavations at the site in 1981 a wealth of archaeological material was uncovered, including ceramic, bronze and iron fibulae, decorated iron, bronze and glass bracelets, ankle rings and weaponry. The most significant find at the site came from grave # 11, where a double warrior burial dating to the late 3rd/early 2nd c. BC was discovered. Material from the burial included 3 swords in their sheaths, 3 spearheads, 2 sword belts, 2 shield umbos, bracelets (iron and glass), and fibulae (Horváth, Németh 2011).


umb illust

Shield umbo from warrior burial #11 at Szabadi

(after Horváth, Németh 2011)


Hun. swo styl illust

One of the decorated scabbards from burial #11. Although badly corroded, at the opening of the sheath a simple symmetrical carved decoration can be observed, composed of tendrils and two drops, known as the Hungarian Sword Style (phase 2, after Szabó, Petres 1992; illustration after Horváth, Németh 2011)





In the south-west and south-eastern parts of the grave meat (chicken and pork) for the afterlife had been placed in bowls. A further notable find in the warrior burial was a small glass bracelet, much smaller than the iron bracelets of the warriors. Such glass bracelets are characteristic for Celtic female burials of this period; a significant marker of Celtic eastwards expansion, they have been found in 3rd c. BC contexts as far east as Celtic sites such as Arkovna, Kalnovo, Sevtopolis and Zaravetz in e. Bulgaria. It is believed that the bracelet in burial #11 at Szabadi was a present to one of the warriors from his girlfriend or wife, which he also carried with him into the afterlife (loc cit).


Glass b. h

Glass bracelets from various Celtic female burials in Hungary (late 4th – early 2nd c. BC)

(after Tanko 2006)


The double burials in grave #11 at Szabadi were performed at the same time, and it has thus been assumed that the warriors fell in battle (Horváth, Németh 2011). Although the nature of the cremation process makes forensic confirmation impossible, this indeed appears the most plausible explanation for such a phenomenon. Finally, it is noteworthy that similar burial assemblages to those at Szabadi are common in the territory of the Scordisci (loc cit), logically indicating a close relationship between the Celts of the Kapos Valley and those in Serbia and n. Bulgaria.


mian illust

Full inventory of warrior burial #11

(after Horváth, Németh 2011)
























Literature Cited


Horváth L., Németh P. (2011) Celtic warriors from Szabadi (Somogy County, Hungary) In:The Eastern Celts. The Communities between the Alps and the Black Sea. Koper–Beograd 2011. p. 20-30.

Szabó M., Petres É. F. (1992) Decorated Weapons of the La Tène Iron Age in the Carpathian Basin. Inventaria Praehistorica Hungariae 5, Budapest.

Tankó K. (2006) Celtic Glass Bracelets in East-Hungary. In: Thracians and Celts. Proceedings of the International Colloquium from Bistriţa, 18-20 May 2006. p. 253-263
























9 thoughts on “BROTHERS IN ARMS – A double Celtic warrior burial from Szabadi (Hungary)

  1. I don’t quite understand. The title says “double warrior burial”, but then it is written that there are 5 warrior burials. Significant difference! So, once again, the question is, is it an actual double warrior burial?

      1. Very interesting! Thank you. Sorry for my blindness, I’m having sores, could do better.
        They bring to mind the stories of Hunor&Magor, the two twins. Other equivalencies Huginn&Muninn, Góg&Magóg, Yecüc&Mecüc, Hunahpu&Xbalanque – the latter, “Hunahpu” being meaning the first father in Mayan telling, well in Magyar, HunApu (pron. Hunahpu) means Hun(f)Ather (Apu, Apa, and Atya all mean fAther. We call Cumans simply “Kun”, and Hun “Hun”. It strikes me odd, that in english it is Cuman, so is that the complementary to Human? How about the British People of CYMru, and Alba, what Monmouth writes about them? The Hun king slew the scottish king, and therefore the rivers name is thenceforth named “Humber”. By the way, Human in Hungarian is “Ember”. Xbalanque is also understandable – X is pronounced the way we pronounce Zs, as I have heard (French soft J), the great string of words starting with Zs are all linked with the underworld. Furthermore, the one order of Magyaria was the “Pál” order (“Pálos rend”), whose centrum is in the Pilis, heart-shaped mountain range, which’s highest peak is “Dobogókő”:”Throbbing rock” (Dob:drum, dobog:throb, dobogó:throbbing, kő:rock(And Kör is CIRcle, which is rock backwards, and KörOszt is SplTCiRcle(/CircleDivision, basically, the Circle with the CRoSS looks like (and KöRíZ is SoulCircle, Circle with joints, or Glow Circle)). The order’s members were not beggars, but self-sustainers, and they made baskets to delve into the many cave systems of the Pilis, of which depths hold the sleeping ancient-father Nimród. He is also have said to have walked amongst the woods of the pills, where the trees bowed in his wake – this has a rhyme to it. The PELican bird is still the name of the Great Big bird, feeding it’s three chicks, even though it has no resemblance to a pelican in any of the depictions. It was still continuously depicted in the 17th century, where some of our own historians record these depictions as the continuum of celto-scythe Krsztnity, which was closely resembled by Manicheism. Reason being because of the picture-chronicle-like depictions, symbology, and the manicheism directly because of the melon-and-grape depictions (I have an album here, to where I went myself:, a picture from a temple in Somogy county:, grapes and melons: , A good quality picture w/”wind roses” (swastikas): – you can find more in google with “kazettás mennyezet” (mennyezet means ceiling, whilst menny means heaven, and MenyAsszony means bride…)
        There’s still recordings of this complementary male-bondings living as a tradition still continuously in the XX. c., where two men make a blood-bind, and from then on they become “Koma” to each other. This means that if one of the two is in danger of death, accordingly to the oath, the Koma is to come and save his mate even if it at the price of his life. There were Koma’s still recorded in the IIWW.
        There was also Koma-asszony, “asszony” meaning “wedded woman”, “woman of the house”, where the two women would take care of each other in the time of pregnancy, and right after birth, she was the only one allowed in to take care of her other half.
        It is also interesting how in Irish and Magyar both have an extensive amount of phrases on describing something as half of a whole. For e.g., if someone is missing an eye, he is called “half-eyed”, not “one-eyed”. In Irish half is “leath”, and in Magyar it is “Fél”, which are backwards spellings of each other (obviously english also has some of this consonant pairing as well).

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