Early La Têne Burials from Petronell-Carnuntum (Eastern Austria)

UD: March 2019

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITTLE METAL MEN – Celtic Anthropomorphic Swords

UD: March 2019

 

chattilon-sur-indre-mid-1-c-bc

 

Some of the finest examples of Iron Age metalwork are to be found on the anthropomorphic hilts of swords which appear in the 2nd c. BC, produced by the pan-Celtic tribes across Europe. In late Iron Age artistic compositions human heads become increasingly frequent and realistic, and appear to have had talismanic significance. The hilts of middle to late La Têne swords become truly anthropomorphic, with the figures body as sword grip and the arms and legs as cross bars. 

 

switzer 1

switzer 2

Celtic sword from Switzerland and detail of hilt (Iron blade, copper alloy hilt and scabbard)

(ca. 60 BC)

 

Celtic anthropomorphic sword hilts from Mouriès (Bouches-du-Rhône) and Tesson (Charente-Maritime), France

(2/1 c. BC)

 

 

reichstadtmuseum-rothenburg-ob-der-tauber-germany

Celtic anthropomorphic sword in the Reichstadtmuseum Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (2nd c. BC)

 

the-head-of-an-anthropoid-hilt-in-besancon-france

The head of an anthropoid hilt from a Celtic sword, discovered at Besançon, France (2 c. BC)

 

Such anthropomorphic representations are not confined to swords, but are also to be found on a number of Celtic daggers from this period. The more realistic depiction of the human head in the late La Têne period, possibly under Roman influence, is also to be observed on other artifacts, notably eastern Celtic helmets of the Novo Mesto type.

 

aa - Gališ-Lovačka - western Ukraine 2 c. BC

Short iron sword with X-shaped hilt,  from the Celtic settlement in the Gališ-Lovačka hills, western Ukraine (3/2 c. BC). It is from such X-shaped hilts that the Celtic anthropomorphic hilts are believed to have evolved.

 

szendroszendro

Ritually ‘killed’ Celtic sword with proto-anthropomorphic hilt from Szendrő, northern Hungary (3rd c. BC)

 

Hun dagg hilt g.

Hilt of a Celtic dagger from Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.
(2nd c. BC)

 

Sava hel heads

Human heads from the front and rear of the Novo Mesto type Sava helmet from Croatia

(1st c. BC)

(see: https://www.academia.edu/5463297/The_Power_of_3_-_Some_Observations_On_Eastern_Celtic_Helmets)

 

Celtic swords (and daggers) with anthropomorphic hilts were produced during the La Têne C/D period (2nd c. BC – early 1st c. AD), and have been found across the continent stretching from northwestern Ireland to the Balkans, indicating that they gained popularity among all the pan-Celtic European tribes during this period.

 

anthro fe

Celtic sword with anthropomorphic hilt from Saint-André-de-Lidon (Charente-Maritime) France (2/1 c. BC)

 

north-grimston-yorkshire-buried-with-a-shield-two-swords-late-2nd-c-bc

Celtic sword with anthropomorphic hilt, from a warrior burial at North Grimston (Yorkshire), England

(late 2nd century BC)

ballyshannon good

Bronze Celtic sword hilt from Ballyshannon Bay (Donegal) northwestern Ireland

(1st c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail