plan anklet






The most distinctive of personal ornaments, the hohlbuckelringe (bronze anklets) worn by Celtic women are also one of the most significant archaeological markers of Celtic expansion into eastern Europe and Asia-Minor in the 3rd c. BC.





Celtic jewellery ( 3rd century BC ) from female grave 16, Manching Hundsrucken.

Hohlbuckelringe from female grave 16, at Manching Hundsrucken, Germany (3rd c. BC)




Such anklets first appear among the Celtic tribes in the early 3rd c. BC, and include both plain and richly decorated examples. The hohlbuckelringe first emerge in the area of today’s southern Germany and the historically identified territory of the Boii tribe – roughly the area of the present-day Czech Republic (Schaff 1972, Megaw 2004).




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Detail of a bronze hohlbucklering from Plaňany (Kolín District), Czech Republic (3rd c. BC)




With the eastwards movement of Celtic tribes the area of distribution of such anklets logically expands greatly and numerous examples from the 3rd c. BC have been recorded in Hungary and Romania (see below).




Celtic ankle ring ( 3rd century BC ) from Tiszalúc, Kom. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén - hungary

Part of a Celtic hohlbuckelring from Tiszalúc, (Kom. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén) – Hungary (3rd c. BC)





In Thrace hohlbuckelringe have been found at sites such as Helis (Sboryanovo archaeological reserve) in northeastern Bulgaria where, as at Seuthopolis further to the south (see Mac Gonagle 2013), a large Thraco-Macedonian polis had been established at the end of the 4th c. BC. From a chronological perspective the Celtic finds from Helis are of particular significance as they come from a well defined archaeological context. The first example from the site was discovered in 1987 in a building near the south gate of the fortress (Mihaylova 1992), while another Celtic anklet was discovered 11 years later some 5 meters from the first (Megaw 2004). The Helis site was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in circa 250 BC (Stoyanov/Mihaylova 1996, Stoyanov 1998), which therefore dates the anklets and other Celtic artifacts from the site (Celtic ceramic etc.,  see also Mac Gonagle 2014) to the early 3rd c. BC, and thus to the first phase of Celtic expansion into the eastern Balkans.






Fragments of Celtic hohlbuckelringe from Helis/Sboryanovo, northeastern Bulgaria. (Early 3rd c. BC)
(after Megaw 2004)






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(After Anastassov et al 2013; see






Further to the south-east an example from Finike in southwestern Turkey testifies to the Celtic expansion into Asia-Minor from 277 BC onwards. The hohlbucklering from Finike is classic La Têne B2 in its relief decoration which can be compared with several examples from southern Germany (Schaff 1972, Megaw 2004). The discovery of a pair of plain Celtic ankle rings at Corinth is further archaeological evidence of the Celtic presence in Greece at the beginning of the 3rd c. BC and has been linked to the forces of Brennos (Megaw 2004).





Bronze ankle rings, hollow cast, with ornament knobs, 3rd century BC, from Aholming ( Vilshofen - Bavaria ).

Hollow cast bronze ankle ring (3rd century BC), from Aholming (Vilshofen – Bavaria)




Hohlbuckelring from a Celtic female burial at Pişcolt (Satu Mare), Romania (3rd c. BC)
Other examples from this part of Romania include hohlbuckleringe from the Celtic cemetery at Ciumeşti (Grave 1; Zirra 1967:16).















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Literature Cited


Anastassov J., Megaw V., Megaw R., Mircheva E. (2013) Walt Disney Comes to Bulgaria. In: L’âge du Fer en Europe: mélanges offerts à Olivier Buchsenschutz. Bordeaux : Ausonius, 2013, p. 551-56
Krämer W. (1961) Keltische Hohlbuckelringe vom Isthmus von Korinth. In: Germania 19, 1961. p. 32-42


Mac Gonagle B. (2013)


Mac Gonagle B. (2014)

Megaw V. (2004) In the footsteps of Brennos? Further archaeological evidence for Celts in the Balkans. – In: Hänsel B., Studenikova E., (eds.) Zwischen Karpaten und Ägäis. Neolithikum und ältere Bronzezeit. Gedenkschrift für Viera Nemejcova-Pavukova. Rahden / Westf. 93-107.

Mihaylova Z. (1992) Metal finds from the Thracian fortified settlement near the water-supply station in Sboryanovo in Helis II: Sboryanovo. Studies and prospects. Proceedings of the Conference in Isperih, 8 December 1988, Sofia (Sofia, Isperih 1992) p. 88-93

Schaff U. (1972) Ein keltischer Hohlbuckelringe aus Kleinasiens. In: Germania 50, 1972. P. 94-97

Stoyanov T., Mihaylova Z. (1996) Metalworking in the Getic city in Sboryanovo locality near Isperih, NE Bulgaria (Preliminary report). In: Ephemeris Napocensis 6, 1996, p. 55-77

Stoyanov T. (1998) New light on the relations between NE Thrace and Macedonia in the early Hellenistic times. In: Ancient Macedonia. Sixth International Symposium (Thessaloniki) 2 (1998) p. 1076-1089

Zirra V. (1967) Un cimitir celtic în nord-verstu României (Baie Mare n.d (1967)