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CELTIC-L  April 1997

CELTIC-L April 1997

Subject:

Glauberg News

From:

Raimund Karl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Fri, 25 Apr 1997 15:38:39 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (246 lines)

Hi all,

some of you may still remember the news about the new Celtic statue
found in Hessen last year, and may remember that I promised you to
tell you more once I got new information about it. Now, yesterday I
have and here it comes. The information is taken mainly from a
lecture by Otto-Herrmann Frey, the famous Professor for Celtic
archaeology from the university of Marburg an der Lahn, Germany, who
held a lecture at the University of Vienna yesterday, who is doing
the analysis of the findings in the graves.

To begin with, I will shortly return to what we already knew: Last
year a picture of a Celtic statue found at the Glauberg in Hessen, a
few kilometres northwest of Frankfurt am Main, went through the world
media. The staue is of a general layout already known from statues
like the one of Hirschlanden, Baden Württemberg. The statue from the
Glauberg, however, has a lot more details. The depicted man is
wearing a "Blattkrone" (leaf-crown) on his head, a torc with three
"pins" hanging from it under the chin, he is wearing armour with
shoulder-caps, a shield, a belt to which a sword in mounted, an
armring on the upper arm, another armring at the wrist and a
fingerring. If anybody want's to, I can send a picture of it
during the excavation which has a size of about 60K and is in TIF
format. It has been dated to the middle of the 5th century BC, to the
earliest La Tene culture. I hope you now remeber.

Now, to the new information. I'll start with the Glauberg itself.

The Glauberg is a Late Hallstatt/Earliest La Tene fortified
settlement a few kilometers northeast of Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
The main settlement is located on the plateau of the Glauberg, which
is surrounded by a wall which, however, also goes down the side of
the plateau to encompass a spring on the flank of the Glauberg. The
area thus surrounded is about 20 ha, which is about the area of the
larger late Hallstatt "Fürsternsitze" (Chieftain's seats) like also
the Ährenburg, which has been shown to be intensivly settled on the
inside, or also the Heuneburg, if the settlement outside the walls is
included (which is also densly settled). To date, no modern
excavations have been made on the Glauberg, and the documentation of
pre WWII excavations got lost due to a bomb hit into the local museum
during the war, so nothing can be said about how densely the interior
of the Glauberg was settled.
Aerial Photography during the last years however showed that massive
ditch-constructions exist in the valley below the Glauberg, of which
especially one caught the interest of the archaeologists and therefor
was excavated.

I'll put in here a very bad sketch of the whole area:
                                     .................
                                  .:                  :...
                              ..:  Glauberg          :....
                            .:           _ Wall__       :......
                           :            /   Spring \______   :
  /                        : _____/...........................\   :
 |                         :|     Plateau                      |  :
Ditch                    :|                          ______/ .:
 | :                         :\_____________/        ....:
 \  :.                        :.....                     .....:
   \  :Wall?                    :__..         .....:
     \  :.                         /     \ :.......:
      \   :.                       \     /Circular Ditch
       \   :.                        | |                       /\
         \   :.                    Ditches                 |
          \    :.                    | |                       N
            \   :...    ...Wall...|  | .......Wall.........|........
              \__    ___Ditch_| |_____Ditch________________

What has been dug was the circular ditch construction at the foot of
the Glauberg, which showed to be ditch of almost 3 meters depth that
had been built around a tumulus of about 70 meters diameter. The
ditches leading south from this round ditch seem to have been
side-ditches to an about 12 meter wide street, which turn to form an
outer ditch system that at least partly was combined with a wall,
which may have surrounded the whole Glauberg once, and which are,
especially because of the tumulus, dateable to the 2nd half of the
fifth century BC.

Now, a sketch of the Tumulus area in greater detail:

      Ditch
     /      /   __ _/      _/
    |      |__/ Ditch__/
    | Postholes/         _______________
    | X   ____/    ___/    ___________     \__
    |     |       __/    ___/                    \___   \_
    \     \___/ Circular Ditch                     \_    \_
     \               /                                        \     \
       \          /                 Grave 1                 |    |
         \       |                                              |    |
          |     |                                               |    |
           |    |                                               |    |
           |    |                Disturbance              |    |
           |    |                                               |    |
           \    \                                              /    /
             \    \___                               ___ /    /
               \___   \___    Grave 2   ___/    ___ /
                     \___   \                /    ___/
                           \    \             /    /
                            |    | Street  |    |

 X marks the finding place of the statue

Now to the interesting things:

The statue was found in a side ditch near three postholes that went
down from the bottom of the ditch for another 1,2 meters. It was
found in an orientation that exactly matches the orientation of grave
1, and was deponated in a way that makes it realtivly safe to assume
that it was "buried", and not simply fell there, after it's legs
broke at the ankles.
This not only indicates that it was kind of a "grave-marker", but
also had a specific meaning going beyond that. We can by now also
safely assume that similar "grave-figurines" were not untypical for
early La Tene graves, only probably made from wood not stone, as
indicated by the findings of postholes on the tops of diverse Early
La Tene tumuli in the Hunsrück-Eiffel Culture.
What makes it even more interesting is what has been found in grave
1 (which is, to date, as both grave 1 and 2 where not excavated in situ
but taken out with the surrounding earth and are now slowly excavated
in the museum, which is not finished by now - only Röntgens show that
there is still something in like some very special fibulas, which
haven't been excavated by now), which measured about 2 time 2.4
meters. Apart from a "Schnabelkanne" made from Bronze, which is
almost a "Sister piece" to the one from the Dürrnberg bei Hallein and
a few clothes with fibulas and two spearheads lying next to the
buried man, the dead wore almost exactly the equipment as depicted
on the statue: He seems to have been covered by his shield. He was
wearing a torc which has three little pins below the chin of the dead
which is a superb product of early Celtic Art. I won't describe it, but
it is really exceptional. I hope to soon get a picture of it, if I do I'll
scan it and submit it to you if you want.
He was wearing armour and a belt which was adorned with a
"Kästechengürtelhaken" and metal rivets and three metal rings for
holding a sword, which is lying at his right side. Additionally he
wore a plain gold ring on the upper arm, another one at the wrist and
a golden finger ring, also of exceptional workmanship. The only thing
not matching the statue is the "leaf-crown", which, however, has long
been interpreted as a symbol of "heroism" or even "divinity".

Grave 2 was also rich, even though not as exceptional seemingly, even
though it aslo has a bronze "Schnabelkanne" and a lot of Gold, the
dead there also seemed to wear armour and has a sword. Interestingly,
broken pieces of a second stone statue wearing armour has been found
in the ditches, however, this second statue is much more destroyed.

Another interesting thing that could be detected in case of the two
Glauberg graves is that every single item, as well as the dead body,
was covered with cloth. So it could, for instance, be shown that the
Schnabelkanne from grave 1 was not only covered by a piece of cloth
but additionally wound around with a ribbon.

What could be found out with the pieces already recovered and
restaurated are the following things: First, grave 1 seems to be
located exactly on the transition between latest Hallstatt and Early
La Tene, showing "transition traditions".
Second, a very strong influence from greek art can be shown on the
stuff (and I think I saw some Skythian influences, too, but Frey
didn't say anything about them, so I can't say anything at the
moment, but I hope I get to talk with him again today in the
afternoon on a more private basis rather than at a lecture). For
instance, on the rim of Schnabelkanne where the handle connects there
is a group of figures, being a person and two "Sphingen" (German
plural from Sphinx, I don't know the English plural, sorry). While
the two Sphingen are typical early La Tene animals with backbent
human head (towards the central human figurine), the human figure,
while sitting in the typical "Celtic position", more or less a
lotos-seat and wearing exactly the same type of armor the statue
wears, the statue itself has a typical greek haircrown (as it appears
on late 6th and early 5th century greek art). Similar things can be
shown on other items, also eastern influence from at least as far
as Lower Austria appears in form of eyelenses in the eyes of two
small figurines on the Torc from grave one, which usually do not
appear as far West as the Glauberg, but frequently appear in the
East (for instance also on the fibula of Manetin Hradek).

The Schnabelkanne from grave 1, by the way, not only has this group
of figurines on it, but a few other specifics as well. First it is to
be noted that it is a local production, but not a very funtional one,
especially because the handle was only badly fixed (only one rivet on
the top and on the bottom connection. Second, it could be found out
that it was filled with a drink made from honey, probably something
like "honey mead". Third, certain parts of the Schnabelkanne were
also chased very fine, with a lotos-palmette motive ion the rim, a
typical "celtic" animal on the Schnabel itself and a "hunting scene"
round the bottom. Oh, and at the lower handle-attachment (which in
fact is a nonfunctional piece of metal, the handle being held by a
simple rivet through the typical "head" at the lower end of the
hande), hidden in two triangles in a typical "celtic" ornament, are two
rabbits as they only appear on certain greek vases.

Finally, another statement to show the importance of that find: the
armor the statue, the little figure on the Schnabelkann from grave 1
and, guessing from that, also the dead noble buried in grave 1 wear
is a composite armor, as it is typical for the fifth century BC in
greece.

Now, a short conclusion: From what can be said by now, the statue
found last year depicts the Noble buried in grave 1 only a few
meters from where the statue was found, which seems to have been
buried itself after it broke on the ankles, probably not too long
after the demise of the person buried in grave 1. The person was
buried there at about the middle of the 5th century BC,and he
was, together with his's gravegoods, wrapped in cloth and
buried in a chamber under a hill of about 70 meters diameter. His
gravegoods show that they were made by artisans that at least
themselves had seen original greek vases and other items that were,
by the time they used them as models, no older than at most 30-40
years. Also known to them was the latest kind of armor that had come
into "fashion" only about 30-40 years ago and which was the standards
equipment of greek nobility at the time. Given the parallels from
between the statue and the equipment in the grave, we can safely
assume that the person buried was buried in exactly that kind of
armour.
So what we seem to have here is probably the burial of one of the
early Celtic "kings"/"nobles" that had extensive contact with the
mediterrenean. After his death, the person was depicted at least
"heroized" if not even "divinized", and given the fact that the
statue was buried when it broke, it could be assumed that this status
was really applied to the dead Noble.

Now, this of course had only been a short summary of what Frey talked
about, and in fact it is a bad summary as I'm still stunned in
admiration, so what I do is rather stammering the most important
points that I wrote down during his lecture. If I get more
information, I'll of course once again submit it to the list.

So now, for all who've followed me that far, this is my goodbye
present for the next three weeks, as I will be off for a three weeks
stay in Wales from this Sunday on. If anyone want's something from
me, please mail me privatly as I'll set Celtic-L to nomail tomorrow
afternoon. Oh, and of course, don't expect a response until I'm back.
In case you are in Wales, too, during that time, and think it would
be fun to meet, I'd love to.

RAY
__________________________________________________________

RAY (Raimund Karl,University of Vienna,Dep.of Prehistory)
email: [log in to unmask] (or [log in to unmask])
homepage: http://unet.univie.ac.at/~a8700035/index.html
__________________________________________________________

                 The CELTIC-L Resources:
      http://unet.univie.ac.at/~a8700035/celtrese.html
__________________________________________________________

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