Κόραλλοι – The Celts in Eastern Bulgaria

 

“Who can I recite my work to here, but yellow-haired

Coralli, and the other tribes of the barbarous Danube?”

(Ovid, Ex Ponto. Book EIV.II To Cornelius Severus: A Fellow Poet)

 

Ovid’s unenthusiastic audience during his exile on the Pontus, the Celtic Coralli/Κόραλλοι tribe (Julian C. Histoire de la Gaule I 303 n. 3, Kazarov 1919:67, Domaradski 1984:111, Duridanov 1997 with cited lit.), were one of the barbarian peoples who constituted the unique

 

FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.academia.edu/36347100/CORALLI_-_Celtic_Traces_in_Eastern_Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A DANUBIAN WARRIOR – Celtic Burial #149 from Csepel Island, Budapest

UD: April 2019

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late La Têne Celtic Ceramic from Bulgaria

UD: December 2018

blan. h

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During the eastwards expansion of the 4th/early 3rd c. BC, the Celtic tribes absorbed many elements of the local material cultures – Scythian, Hellenistic, Thracian etc. This is particularly true of ceramic, where local models and forms rapidly become part of the Balkan Celtic material culture. Evidence of this is to be observed…

Full Article:

https://www.academia.edu/5992553/Late_La_Tene_Ceramic_from_Bulgaria

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Zoomorphic ‘Cult’ Firepots

UD November 2014

 

 

FPt R1

 

 

Since the first half of the 20th century a series of strange ceramic objects, consisting of zoomorphic representations of animal heads – snakes, horses, rams, etc., have been discovered at sites across Bulgaria (Mikov 1932-33, Gerasimov 1960). These artifacts, associated with other Celtic material (‘eye beads’, glass bracelets, daggers, fibulae etc.; see below), and decorated with familiar La Têne motifs – herring-bone, concentric circles/solar symbols, s-scrolls etc., appear most often at cult complexes and burials – indicating that they had a religious function.

Recent excavations in southwestern and south-central Bulgaria have enabled us to definitively date these objects, and the associated ‘Zepina’ type pottery to the 3rd – 1st c. BC (Tonkova, Gotcheva 2008, Tonkova et al 2011), and to finally determine the real function of these mysterious ‘cult objects’.

 

 

 

BD c.

Celtic ‘Zepina Type’ ceramic from Bratya Daskalovi (Stara Zagora reg.), south-central Bulgaria (see http://www.academia.edu/4107842/The_Celts_in_Central_Thrace)

 

 

Sl fp

Zoomorphic ‘Cult Object’ from Sliven region, Bulgaria

(Sliven regional Museum)

 

 

 

 

Information from these latest excavations have also enabled us to clarify the real nature of these artifacts. It has transpired that they are not in fact ‘cult objects’, but zoomorphic attachments from the lids of small portable fire-pots, which were used to carry fire to the cult complex. The significance of this practice is still unclear, but they appear to have been found mostly in areas of the sanctuaries where artifacts associated with women (household objects, jewelry, etc.) predominate (Tonkova, Gotcheva op cit.).

 

 

 

 

P fp

Celtic zoomorphic Ram figurine/attachment from Boznik (Pernik region), western Bulgaria (History Museum of Pernik)

 

 

 

 

From a geographical perspective most of these firepots come from the upper Maritza and Struma/Mesta river valleys, and the Sofia plain, i.e. the zoomorphic fire-pots and associated ‘Zepina’ pottery are concentrated in sites in western and south-western Bulgaria: Batak, Belovo, Sv. Ilia and Ostretz Peak (both near Velingrad), Streltcha, Zepina fortress (Dorkovo), and Patelenitza (Pazardjik region); Babyak, Belitsa, and Kochan in the Blagoevgrad region; Kyustendil, Boznik (Pernik region); Poduaine, Muchovo and Jana in the Sofia region. Other finds of these zoomorphic lids and the ‘Zepina type’ pottery from other areas of Bulgaria include examples from Kazanlak/Seuthopolis, Targovischte, Plovdiv, Rousse, Skalsko (Gabrovo region), and Sliven (Mikov 1932-33, Gerasimov 1960, R a d o n o v, 1965, Domaradski 1984, Katincharova 2005). The latter examples, while fewer in number, confirm that these were not confined to the Celtic tribes of western Bulgaria, but were in use in other parts of the region.

 

 

 

Bd urn

Ceramic vessel of the ‘Zepina Type’ used as a funerary urn in a Celtic female burial at Karakochovata Tumulus, Bratya Daskalovi, south-central Bulgaria

(see http://www.academia.edu/4107842/The_Celts_in_Central_Thrace)

 

 

 

Recent finds of Celtic ceramic of this type in Thrace include examples from the Unatzi site (Pazardjik reg.), also in central Bulgaria, which was, as at Bratya Daskalovi, found together with a bronze La Têne fibula of the Jezerine type, and from the Celtic chieftain’s burial at Sashova Tumulus near the Shipka Pass, where this type of ‘Cult’ ceramic was discovered together with a gold fibula, torc, Celtic sword, etc. (see http://www.academia.edu/4126512/Sevtopolis_and_the_Valley_of_the_Thracian_Kings).

 

 

Bd fib.

Bronze La Têne Fibula of the Jezerine type from the central Celtic burial at Karakochovata Tumulus, Bratya Daskalovi.

 

The fibula is of great importance for the dating of the complex. This type of late La Têne fibula first appears between 40-30 BC and is most common in the period between 30 and 10 BC (Rustoiu 1997). It is worth noting that the other jewelry from the burial is of types typical of the Scordisci and other Balkan Celts during this period (Tonkova op cit).

 

 

 

It should also be noted that the concentration of the firepots in the western Rhodope mountains/Mesta Valley region also corresponds with the circulation of Celtic Strymon/Trident coinage which dates to the same period  (http://www.academia.edu/4067834/Bandit_Nation_-_The_Bogolin_Hoard) – logically indicating that they were produced by the same tribes.

 

 

 

 

FP reconst.

 

Zoomorphic lid, and reconstructed  fire-pot from Babyak (Blagoevgrad region), s.w. Bulgaria) (after Tonkova, Gotcheva 2008).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Pdf. version of this file:

 

http://www.academia.edu/5046182/Zoomorphic_Cult_Firepots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources Cited

 

 

Gerasimov T. (1960) Keltski kultovi figuri ot Bulgariia. Izvestiia na Arkheologicheskiia institut (IAI) 23. Sofia: BAN, pp. 165–204.

Катинчарова Д. (2005) Аpхеологически проучвания на обект “Свети Илия” край  Велинград през 2004. In: Археологически Институт с  Музей – БАН. Археологически Открития и Разкопки през 2004 г. XLIV. Национална Археологически Конференция София 2005

Mikov V. (1932–1933). Keltski nakhodki u nas. Bulgarska istoricheska biblioteka V: 1. Sofia

R a d o n o v  Z. (1965) Kultovi pametnici v Okryzhnija muzej v Pernik. Arheologia,VII, № 4, 47 – 53

Rustoiu A. (1997) Fibulele din Dacia Preromana (sec. I i.e.n. – I e.n). Bucuresti .

Тонкова, М. и Гоцев  A. (2008) Тракийското светилище при Бабяк и неговата археологическа среда. София.

Tonkova et al (2011) Трако-римски династичен център в районнаЧирпанските възвишения. Тонкова M. (ed.) София.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CULT OF THE HUMAN HEAD IN CELTIC EUROPE

UD: Feb. 2019

 

 

“Amongst the Celts the human head was venerated above all else, since the head was to the Celt the soul, centre of the emotions as well as of life itself, a symbol of divinity and of the powers of the other-world.”

 (Jacobsthal 1944)

 

2 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - La Tarasque de Noves 1 c. BC - The Tarasque de Noves anthropophagous statue, displayed in the Musée Calvet in Avignon, is attributed to the Cavares.

 

“… they hang the heads of their enemies from the necks of their horses, and, when they have brought them home, nail the spectacle to the entrances of their homes”.
(Strabo IV, 4:5)

 

“Trophy Skull” from the Celtic settlement at  Kobern-Gondorf (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany

(1st c. BC)

 

Human head (sandstone) discovered at the gate of the Celtic hillfort / oppidum at Závist in southern Prague. (Analysis has shown that the sculpture is complete, i.e. the head did not come from a statue). Such stone heads have been discovered in Celtic settlements and cult sites across Europe.

(2-1 c. BC)

No photo description available.

Limestone sculpture from Mšecké Žehrovice in the Czech Republic

(1 c. BC)

 

 

In the year 1904 a rather strange artifact was discovered at an ancient burial site near the village of Deta (Timiş county), Romania. The ceramic head (0.30 – 0.35 cm in height) represents a bald male with neither facial hair nor eyebrows, a straight nose and a pointed chin (fig. 1).

Deta 2

Fig. 1 – The Deta Head

(after Rustoiu 2012)

 

Initially interpreted as part of a statue, and identified as ‘Prehistoric’ and ‘Bronze Age’, it has subsequently emerged that the Deta head, now dated to the late Iron Age (LTC1), comes from a Celtic kantharos of the ‘Danubian Type’, and represents one of many such Celtic anthropomorphic decorative elements / artifacts from this period recorded in south-eastern Europe.

The Danubian kantharoi represent a ceramic category adopted by the eastern Celts from a range of vessels specific to the Mediterranean region, and appear to have had special religious functions. 3 main types of Celtic kantharoi developed during this period (LTB2 – C1) – the 1st type consisting of close copies of Hellenistic originals, the 2nd type resembling local bowls to which 2 handles were added, and a 3rd type of large bi-truncated vessels, also with added handles (loc cit).

 

 

Bland. B

 

Bland 1

Fig. 2 – Celtic kantharos with anthropomorphic decoration from Blandiana, Alba County, Romania

(after Rustoiu, Egri 2010)

 

 

a - Csepel Island pseudo-Kantharos - warrior burial 3rd c. BC - good

Kantharos with anthropomorphic handles from a Celtic warrior burial (#149) at Csepel Island, Budapest

(3rd c. BC)

 

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

 

 

 Variants of such vessels continued to be produced by the Balkan Celtic population right up to the Roman conquest at the end of the 1st c. BC, as has recently  been confirmed by examples such as that used as a funeral urn in the female Celtic burial (#10) at the Bratya Daskalovi site (Stara Zagora region) in south-central Bulgaria which has been dated to the late 1st c. BC (Tonkova et al 2011). Such kantharoi, dating to the late 2nd/ 1st c. BC, have also been recorded at cult centres in Thrace, such as that at Babyak in the western Rhodope mountains of s.w. Bulgaria. At the latter site the kantharoi, along with other artefacts including metal objects and zoomorphic cult firepots, were ritually ‘killed’ in the typical Celtic fashion.

Other Celtic vessels with anthropomorphic decoration from s.e. Europe include examples such as the kantharos from burial #23 at Belgrad-Karaburma, and vessels from Kósd, Kakasd, Csepel Island, Balatonederics, Rogvágy, Levice, Blandiana, etc. The Deta head has particularly close stylistic parallels in 2 heads from vessels discovered at Kósd (Hungary) and a head from a limestone stele discovered at Ciulniţa (Romania), while the stone ‘Janus’ heads from the Roquepertuse site in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur région of southern France bear distinct similarities to these eastern Celtic examples (Rustoiu op cit.).

 

 

Baslatonederocs – Keszthely, Hungary, III century BC kantharos antropomorphic decoration

Upper end of handle on a pot from Balatonederics (Hungary) – 3rd c. BC

 

Kosd n.

Fig. 3 – Anthropomorphic representations on the beakers from Kósd

(after Rustoiu 2012)

 

 

Ciuln hed

Fig. 4 – Head from a Limestone stele from Ciulniţa

(after Teleagă 2008)

 

Roque.

Fig. 5 – ‘Janus’ Heads from Roquepertuse

 

 

J

The two-faced pre-Christian deity on Boa Island (Fermanagh), Ireland

 

Winged head on the obverse of a Celtic tetradrachm from western Hungary (late 2nd c. BC)

Bronze Celtiberian fibula from Lancia/Villasabariego (Castile and León), Spain. Note the decapitated head below the horses face.

(3/2 c. BC)

 

 

Further stylistic analogies to the aforementioned ceramic heads from Deta, Kósd, and the stone head from Ciulniţa  have been identified (Rustoiu 2012) in a gold ‘Janus’ head pendant from the Schumen region of north-eastern Bulgaria, and a ceramic head dated to the same period (late 4th/ 3rd c. BC) from Seuthopolis in the so-called ‘Valley of the Thracian Kings’, as well as in the glass ‘face beads’ which became common in eastern Europe during the same period (loc cit; fig. 7 – 9).

 

 

Fig. 6 – Gold Celtic ‘Janus Head’ pendant from Schumen region, north-eastern Bulgaria

(3 c. BC)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/%ce%ba%cf%8c%cf%81%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%bb%ce%bf%ce%b9-the-celts-in-eastern-bulgaria/

 

C T. 1

Fig. 7 – Celtic ‘Face Beads’ from Romania

1: Mangalia 2: Pişcolt

 

Such glass ‘face beads’ have been unearthed in recent years during excavations at a number of sites in Bulgaria, such as Mogilanska Tumulus (Vratza region), Appolonia Pontica (Sozopol), Mavrova Tumulus (Starosel, Plovdiv region), Burgas, Kavarna (Dobruja region), etc.

 

Th. gl. 1

Fig. 8 – Glass ‘Face Bead’ from Mogilanska Tumulus (Vratza region, Bulgaria)

 

 

Th. g 2

Fig. 9 – Glass ‘face bead’ from Mavrova Tumulus (Starosel, Plovdiv region, Bulgaria)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/the-celtic-evil-eye/

 

 

 Previously ascribed to contact between the Hellenistic areas and the Celts of the Tyle state in eastern Bulgaria (Szabó 2000:11), it has subsequently emerged that in fact these appear earlier in the Celtic environment, as has been conclusively proven by examples discovered in burials # 191 and 202 (LT B1) or # 1, 16, 191, and 194 (LTB2) from Piscolţ in Romania (Rustoiu 2012).

 

 

2 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - La Tarasque de Noves 1 c. BC - The Tarasque de Noves anthropophagous statue, displayed in the Musée Calvet in Avignon, is attributed to the Cavares.

La Tarasque de Noves. Anthropophagous statue from Noves in the Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

A dismembered limb hangs from its snarling mouth, and clutched in each front claw is a human skull. The statue is attributed to the Cavares tribe (/tribal federation), meaning “The Giants”.

(1st century BC)

 

 

Bronze applique in the form of a human head from a Celtic chariot burial at Roissy (Val-d’Oise), France

(3rd c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 

Jacobsthal P. (1944) Early Celtic Art. Oxford

Rustoiu A., Egri M. (2010) Danubian Kantharoi – Almost Three Decades Later. In: Iron age Communities in the Carpathian Basin. Proceedings of the International Colloquium from Târgu Mureş, 9-11 October 2009.Cluj-Napoca 2010. P. 217-287

Rustoiu A. (2012) The Ceramic Human Head from Deta (Timiş County). About the La Têne Vessels with Anthropomorphic Decoration from the Carpathian Basin. In: Analele Banatului, S.N., Arheologie-Istorie, XX, 2012. Pp. 57-72

Teleagă E. (2008) Griechische Importe in den Nekropolen an der unteren Donau. 6 Jh. – Anfang des 3 Jh. v. Chr., Marburger Studien zur Vor- und Frügeschichte, Bd. 23, Rahden/Westf.

Тonkova, Gotcheva (2008) = Тонкова, М. и Гоцевa  A.. Тракийското светилище при Бабяк и неговата археологическа среда. София

Tonkova et al (2011) = Трако-римски династичен център в районна Чирпанските възвишения Тонкова M. (ed.) София

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEART OF THRACE – The Celts in Central Bulgaria

UD: December 2018

The recent publication of results from large-scale excavations in sub-Balkan Thrace marks an important step forward in Bulgarian archaeology, and has finally provided us with objective scientific data on the geo-political status quo and ethnic composition in this part of Europe in the late Iron Age. These extensive excavations, carried out at a number of sites in Central Bulgaria, especially in the Chirpan Heights area, has yielded material that has prompted local archaeologists to finally conclude that in the late Iron Age “this region was in fact inhabited by a Celtic (Celto-Thracian) population” (Tonkova et al 2011 = Трако-римски династичен център в районна Чирпанските възвишения Тонкова M. (ed.) София, 2011).

FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.academia.edu/4107842/The_Celts_in_Central_Thrace

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New Celtic Material from Bulgaria (Part 1)

Over the past few years a large amount of new archaeological material has been found in Bulgaria which sheds new light on Celtic settlement in this region. This includes a variety of metal, glass, and ceramic artifacts from sites across the country which, according to Prof. L. Vagalinski (Vice Director of the Bulgarian National Archaeological Institute and Museum), once again raises serious questions about the Celtic presence in today’s Bulgaria (Vagalinski 2002, 2007).

 

 

     HELIS

The Roman historian Justinius (Pomp. Trog) xx v 1-3) informs us that in the wake of the main Celtic invasion led by Brennos a second wave of Celts arrived on the territory of today’s Bulgaria. Consisting of 15,000 infantry and 3,000 horse, this army, according to Justinius, destroyed the forces of the Thracian Getae and Triballi tribes.

 The capital of the aforementioned Getae tribe in the 4th / 3rd c. BC was situated at Helis (now part of Sboryanovo archaeological reserve) in northeastern Bulgaria, famous for the spectacular Thracian tombs discovered in the area (Fig. 1). Recently published Celtic material from this site includes ceramic vessels (Fig. 2) which were found in a pit by the fortification wall. A Sinope amphora stamp from 273 BC lay at the bottom of the pit which was covered by ruins of the curtain wall which collapsed in the earthquake in circa 250 B.C. The Celtic ceramic can therefore be dated to the second quarter of the 3rd c. B.C. (Vagalinski 2007: P74; cat. # 18-19)  Further Celtic finds from the site such as a bronze La Téne B2/C Hohlbucklering discovered in 1987 and a further example 11 years later (Megaw 2004, 98) (Fig. 3), bracelets, glass ‘Eye Beads’ (Fig. 4 – see also ‘Little Glass Men’ article) as well as evidence of on-site production of La Têne double-spring brooches (Megaw 2004: 103 and fig. 9, 7 – 11,13) provide further archaeological evidence of  Celtic presence in this area.

Fig 1  Interior of one of the 4th/ 3rd c. BC tombs at Helis (Sboryanovo archaeological reserve)

 

 

 

Fig. 2   Celtic Pottery from Helis (After Vagalinski 2007)

 

 

 

Fig. 3  Bronze Celtic Hohlbucklering from Helis (after Megaw 2004)

 

 

 

Fig. 4 Celtic ‘Eye Beads’ from the tomb in tumulus 18 at Helis (After Gergova, Katevski
2008)

 

 

What is not present at Helis, however, nor any other Thracian settlement in Bulgaria during this period, is evidence of destruction which would indicate conflict between the local Thracian population and the newly arrived Celts. Indeed, archaeological evidence from Helis and throughout Eastern Bulgaria indicates a period of economic prosperity after the Celtic arrival in the area. At present archaeological data would appear to contradict the dramatic version described by Justinius. Instead it appears to show a more gradual and largely peaceful Celtic migration into the area. (Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

ARKOVNA/ DALGOPOL                  

                                                                                            

The situation at the Arkovna hillfort near Dalgopol (Varna region) is even more clear. Due to the commendable and objective work of the Bulgarian archaeologists L. Lazarov and Dr. M. Manov, Celtic settlement in the Dalgopol area, and in particular at the Celtic hillfort at Arkovna, is the best documented in the region. (See Manov 2010, Lazarov 2010 with cited lit.) The wealth of Celtic material published from this area over the decades has recently been augmented by further numismatic and archaeological evidence. This includes Celtic coinage of the Cavaros type (Fig. 6), La Têne fibulae, finger rings, belt elements, golden ornaments with filigree, parts of helmets, chain-mail, glass bracelets, ‘Eye Beads’, knives, and Celtic ceramic. (Fig. 7 – 10) The Arkovna site was certainly the centre (or at least one of the centers) of the Celtic ‘Tyle’ state which controlled most of today’s eastern Bulgaria in the 3rd c. BC.

  To the west this Celtic kingdom certainly controlled the region of Veliko Tarnovo as far as the Jantra river; the southern border was somewhere to the south of Kabyle and near Appolonia on the Black Sea coast; in the north it reached to the Danube and had contact with Celtic groups north of the river. This state undoubtedly had a significant Thracian content, with the Celtic cultural and military element remaining dominant. (Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

Fig. 5  Arkovna hill – Centre of the Celtic ‘Tyle’ state in eastern Bulgaria

Fig. 6  Bronze coins of the Celtic king Cavaros (220’s – 210’s BC) from Arkovna/ Dalgopol and surrounding region. (After Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

Fig. 7  Celtic fibulae and bracelets from Arkovna/ Dalgopol and surrounding area (After
Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

Fig. 8 Celtic finger rings, belt elements and golden ornaments with filigree from Dalgopol and surrounding area (After Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

Fig. 9 Celtic weapons and armour (helmet cheek guard, chain-mail and knife) from Dalgopol (After Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

Fig. 10 – Celtic ceramic, glass ‘eye beads’ and glass bracelets from the Celtic hillfort at Arkovna (After Lazarov 2010)

 

 

 

 

BIZONE / KAVARNA

 

Further recent finds of Celtic material again come from northeastern Bulgaria – from the Black Sea colony of Bizone (modern Kavarna, Dobruja region). Celtic ceramic from the Bizone / Kavarna site includes jugs, pots and other table pottery with the same technical characteristics – brown to grey-black clay with significant sand inclusions, rough external surface, and burnished decoration. (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11  Celtic ceramic from Bizone/ Kavarna (After Vagalinski 2007)

 

 

 

 

The Kavarna ceramic has a number of parallels in Celtic complexes along the Serbian part of the Danube and has been dated to the 1st c. BC / 1st c. AD. Other Celtic material found at the site as well as substantial Celtic numismatic material found in the Kavarna area dating from the 3rd – 1st c. BC confirm Celtic settlement in this area in the pre-Roman and Roman period. (See numismatics section and ‘Little Glass Men’ article)

 

 

 
NORTH-WESTERN BULGARIA

 

 

 

Other finds of La Têne pottery from the early Roman period are concentrated in the northwestern part of Bulgaria – in the Vidin and Montana regions – an area traditionally associated with the Scordisci tirbes. The finds include bowls, jugs, pots and dolia (fig. 12 )

Examples have so far been published from three Celtic settlements:

  1. Under the Roman fortification Castra Martis (today’s Kula, Vidin region)
  2. Near the village of Jakimovo (Montana region)
  3. Near the village of Valchedrum (Montana region)

It is interesting to note that both Jakimovo and Valchedrum lie on the small Tsibiritza river, the same river  on which the village of Gorni Tsibir, where the gold Celtic torc dating from the 4th c. BC was found, is situated. (See ‘The Danube Torc’ article) All of the recently published Celtic ceramic from this area has been dated to the 1st c. BC / 1st c. AD. (Vagalinski 2007)

 

 

 

Fig. 12 Celtic ceramic from Valchedrum, Jakimovo (After Vagalinski 2007)

 

 

 
NORTH-CENTRAL BULGARIA

                                                                                                               

The Celtic pottery recently found in north-central Bulgaria comes from a location 2 km. northeast of the village of Krivina, Russe region. The site lies 1 km. south of the Danube. A large vessel found is of late La Têne slip decorated pottery which was popular among Celtic tribes from Normandy and southwest Germany to the west, up to Serbia in the east and particularly in the Danube region. It was used primarily by Celtic aristocracy and is often found, as in the case of the Krivina find, together with late La Têne burnished ceramics. Any question that this was imported into Thrace is ruled out by the fact that the Krivina ceramic was found together with the kiln in which it was produced. Тhe kiln itself was unusually large (max diameter 2.30 – 2.40 m.). Together with the luxury Celtic ceramic was found hand-made ‘Thracian’ vessels which indicates influence of the coexistence of Celts and Thracians in this part of Bulgaria. The same phenomenon is to be observed along the Serbian part of the Danube. (Vagalinski op cit)


 The Krivina kiln, a two-part kiln with two fireplaces and a diametrical grate, is of a typical Celtic type. The use of slip dates the Bulgarian pottery because this technique first  appeared among the Balkan Celts at the end of the 1st c. BC under Roman influence. This Celtic pottery is thus dated to the end of the 1st c. BC / beginning of the 1st c. AD.  (Loc cit)

 

 

 

 

Fig. 13  Celtic ceramic from Krivina (After Vagalinski 2007)

The above data clearly shows Celtic ceramic production on the territory of today’s Bulgaria from the 3rd c. BC until the Roman period. The same is the case with production of Celtic metal objects (see Part 2 of this study). In spite of this, and all the other numismatic and archaeological evidence, some Bulgarian academics continue to insist that there was never a Celtic political or ethnic presence on the territory of today’s Bulgaria. Such claims, in the face of аll the scientific evidence to the contrary, cast serious doubt on the objectivity of those concerned. In conclusion, one can only echo the sentiments of Prof. Vagalinski (2002, 2007) who has repeatedly called for a thorough and, above all, impartial evaluation of this ever increasing body of evidence.

Literature

Gergova, Katevski 2008 = Gergova D. Katevski I. Archaeology and Geophysics in the Sboryanovo National Reserve (North-East Bulgaria). In: Geoarchaeology and Archaeomineralogy (Eds. R. I. Kostov, B. Gaydarska, M. Gurova). Proceedings of the International Conference, 29-30 October 2008, 374-379.

Lazarov 2010 = Lazarov L. The Celtic Tylite State in the time of Cavaros. In: In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III c. B.C.). Proceedings of the Interdisciplinary Colloquium arranged by the Archaeological Institute and Museum at Sofia and the Welsh Department, Aberystwyth University held at the National Archaeological Institute and Museum. Sofia 2010. P. 97 – 114.

Megaw 2004 = Megaw J.V.S. In the Footsteps of Brennos? Further Archaeological Evidence for Celts in the Balkans. In: Hӓnsel B.,  Studenikova E. (eds.) Zwischen Karpaten und Ӓgӓis. Neolithikim und ӓltere Bronzezeit. Gedenkschrift für Viera Nemejcova–Pavukova. Rahden/Westf. 93 – 107.

Vaglinski 2002 = Vaglinski L. F., Burnished Pottery from the first century  to the beginning of the seventh century AD  from the region of the lower Danube (Bulgaria) Sofia 2002.

Vagalinski 2007 = Vagalinski L. F., Celtic Pottery in Northern Bulgaria. In: The Lower Danube in Antiquity (VI c. B.C. – VI c. A.D.). International Archaeological Conference. Bulgaria – Tutrakan, 6-7.10.2005. p. 72-83. Sofia 2007.