The Celts were long considered a barbaric and violent society. But new findings from a 2,600-year-old grave in Germany suggest the ancient people were much more sophisticated than previously thought. The little Bettelbühl stream on the Danube River was completely unknown, except to local residents. But that changed in the summer of 2010 when a spectacular discovery was made just next to the creek.
Not far from the Heuneburg, the site of an early Celtic settlement, researchers stumbled upon the elaborate grave of a Celtic princess. In addition to gold and amber, they found a subterranean burial chamber fitted with massive oak beams. It was an archeological sensation that, after 2,600 years, the chamber was completely intact.
The wooden construction was preserved by the constant flow of water from the Bettelbühl stream. “In dry ground, the wood wouldn’t have had a chance to survive over so many centuries,” said Nicole Ebinger-Rist, the director of the research project handling the find.
A life of luxury?
Since the rings in the wood allow them to date the other items in the burial chamber, researchers are now hoping to gain a new understanding of Celtic culture and history
The result could change our view of the Celts. Roman writers in particular described the heterogeneous people as barbaric, only excelling in violence and war. But that’s a distorted view, according to Dirk L. Krausse from Baden-Wurttemberg’s state office for historic preservation.
“There’s also a bit of propaganda involved, since the Celts conquered Rome in the year 387 B.C., so they couldn’t have been so primitive,” Krausse explained. The findings at the Heuneburg near Hundersingen also indicate that the Celts living in the upper Danube region were more advanced than previously thought.
- Archeologists revise image of ancient Celts: 2,600-year-old grave suggest they were much more sophisticated than previously thought (sott.net)
- Archeologists revise image of ancient Celts (whitenewsnow.com)
- Who Were The Celts? (eirechill.wordpress.com)
- Celtic Theology and Celtic Spirituality (theonerd.com)