The recent chance discovery of a significant Iron Age burial complex in eastern Slovenia has uncovered important new evidence pertaining to the population who inhabited this region of Europe in the immediate pre-Roman period.
The site, at Pezdirčeva Njiva in Podzemelj, is situated in the White Carniola area of southeastern Slovenia, near the border with Croatia.
Excavation of the site at Pezdirčeva Njiva
One of the graves uncovered at the Pezdirčeva Njiva site
Initial investigations at the site have uncovered 15 burials, dating to the late 4th – early 3rd century BC, thus placing these latest finds in the same chronological framework as other early Balkan Celtic burials from eastern Slovenia, notably those from Srednica near Ptuj. The location of the latest discovery at Podzemelj places the burial complex in the territory of the Celtic Taurisci tribe.
Bronze scabbard from a Celtic warrior burial at Srednica, eastern Slovenia (late 4th – early 3rd c. BC)
Material from the Celtic burials at Pezdirčeva Njiva
Perhaps the most interesting find so far from the Pezdirčeva Njiva burials is a Celtic gold stater based on the Greek Athena / Nike prototype, which was discovered attached to a belt in one of the burials (3 c. BC). The gold coin indicates that the burial is one of the later graves at the site. Coins are very rarely found in Celtic burials, and this example, only the third Celtic gold coin to have been found in an archaeological context on the territory of modern Slovenia, provides invaluable data concerning the dating of the burial.
Gold stater discovered in one of the Balkan Celtic burials at Podzemelj