Conny Waters - AncientPages.com - To discover a magnificent Celtic burial like the Hochdorf chieftain's grave is a dream of every archaeologist.
The Celts lived in large parts of Europe during the Bronze Age and Iron Age and these intriguing people were skilled craftsmen whose artifacts we can admire today.
Celtic burial mound reconstructed. Credit: Detlef Meissner, CC BY 2.5
One ancient object often mentioned demonstrating the high artistic skills of the Celts is the Gundestrup Cauldron, a magnificent vessel made from richly decorated plates of silver that were assembled into a single cauldron.
However, the place where the Gundestrup Cauldron was discovered, was never inhabited by the Celts, and it possible the motifs on the vessel were inspired by the cultural exchange between the Thracians and Celts in Bulgaria.
The Hochdorf chieftain’s grave in Baden-Württemberg, Germany offers a unique view of beautiful objects produced by the Celts.
Discovered by an amateur archaeologist in 1968, the tomb is often referred to as the resting place of the Celtic Tutankhamun.
The Celtic Chieftain was given a dagger with gold foil in preparation for the afterlife. Credit: Rosemania, CC BY 2.0
The grave, dating from 530 BC has been excavated and reconstructed. The 6 ft 2 in (187 cm) tall man buried in the grave was most likely a Celtic chieftain. At the time of his death was about 40 years and his richly decorated tomb strengthens the theory he must have been an influential person among his people.
A drinking horn was also found in the grave. Credit: Chez Cåsver, CC BY 2.0
When this unknown Celtic man was put to rest, he was dressed in richly decorated garments, and a gold-plated torc was placed around his neck.
The Celtic chieftain had a bracelet on his right arm and a hat made of birch bark. Among the burial gifts, archaeologists discovered a gold-plated dagger made of bronze and iron, beautiful amber jewelry and a razor knife, a nail clipper, a comb, fishing hooks, and arrows. Most astonishing of all objects found in the grave were the man’s golden shoes.
Hochdorf Chieftain's Grave, golden shoes ornaments. Credit: Rosemania, CC BY 2.0
So far archaeologists have discovered about 100 similar graves from the same period in France, Germany, and Switzerland.
Unlike the mysterious Bull Rock cave where scientists uncovered an ancient mass grave that still remains unexplained, the history of the Hochdorf Chieftain’s grave was much easier to reconstruct.
Reconstruction of the Celtic Hochdorf Chieftain’s Grave in the Museum. Credit: jnn95, CC BY-SA 3.0
In 1985 the Hochdorf Chieftain’s Grave was successfully reconstructed, and a museum was built near the ancient burial mound. The presence of Celtic inhabitants was re-confirmed when an ancient Celtic village was discovered not far from the tomb that belonged to the Celtic Tutankhamun.
Written by Conny Waters – AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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