International symposium “AUREUS – The power of Gold” (Orléans, FR – 12 to 14/11/2018)


“The Power of Gold” is an international and  transdisciplinary symposium (History, Archaeometry, Physics, Chemistry, Classics, Numismatics) bringing together 50 scientists from France, Belgique, United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Italy and United States, between 12th and 14th November 2018 in Orléans.

It aims to discuss  the economic, political, social and cultural uses of the gold coinage in the West, from the Hellenistic period to the end of the 1st century AD.

September 2018

Torc from Lasgraïsses (Tarn)

The complex closing system of the torc from Lasgraïsses (video M. Nordez)

A complex closing system

This torc with “efflorescences” comes from Lasgraïsses (Tarn), in South-Western France. With a gold armlet, they were deposited in hoard during the third century BC. Discovered in April 1885 during farm work, fragments of burnt animal bones, ceramic and charcoal were maybe associated.
A very complex closing system is visible here, combining 3 main features:
– A mobile annular terminal with mortise (keyhole shape), rotating around a pin
– An interlocking system with pin and slide
– A dowel pin.

New publication about Iron Age Gold!

SCHWAB R. et al. 2018 – Early Iron Age Gold in Celtic Europe: Society, Technology and Archaeometry

SCHWAB R., MILCENT P.-Y., ARMBRUSTER A., PERNICKA E. (eds) – Early Iron Age Gold in Celtic Europe: Society, Technology and Archaeometry, Proceedings of the International Congress held in Toulouse, France, 11-14 March 2015, Forschungen zur Archäometrie und Altertumswissenschaft, 6, 1, Rahden/Westf.: Leidorf, 2018, 445 p.

We are glad to announce the brand new publication of the work from the previous WEST HALLSTATT GOLD project and the international conference “Early Iron Age Gold in Celtic Europe. Society, Technology and Archaeometry”, held in Toulouse in March 2015.

These conference proceedings contain a foreword with an introduction and 19 papers. The contributions deal with 150 years of research, the gold of the Hallstatt Culture, gold finds in the National Museum at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, material sciences applied to West Hallstatt gold, typology, technology, and analyses of Hallstatt gold in France and Western Switzerland, technology and material analyses of Hallstatt gold from South-West Germany, annular gold ornaments and their decoration, the jewellery from Lazenay, Early La Tène art and Mediterranean iconography, golden rings and earrings from Alsace, gold from Western Swiss graves such as Payerne, technology, chronology, and social meaning of Iron Age gold in North-Western Iberia, Iron Age gold workshops in South-West Iberia, e. g. at Vaiamonte, Iron Age gold on the Eastern Iberian Peninsula, the hoard of gold discs from Fortios in Portugal, Iron Age gold in Belgium and the Southern Netherlands as well as in Britain, the hoard of gold torques from Blair Drummond and its significance for regional styles and international connections in the Later Iron Age, and with Villanovan fibulae in bronze, gold, bone and amber.

To buy it :


Small project meeting in Toulouse, 19.-21.02.2018

Although modern means of communication facilitate our everyday working life a lot, at some point, it still is necessary to meet in person. Especially, since we are collecting more and more gold objects and the need for discussing typological issues increases. After intense discussions in Mainz and Mannheim on the German side, and in Toulouse on the French side, we took the opportunity to have a small meeting with Barbara Armbruster, Pierre-Yves Milcent, Marilou Nordez, and Sebastian Fürst to talk about the database and the typological ranking of the objects.

As Barbara Armbruster has stressed in her 2011 article (see literature section), it is necessary to apply both, an inner and an outer typology for a comprehensive understanding of archaeological artefacts. This is why we have chosen to use two rather separated, but complementary, typological approaches within our database and thus in our project. Whereas the inner typology is based on an investigation of the technological information inherent in the material (like forming, decoration, joining or finishing techniques), the outer typology focuses more on the phenotype of an object rather than on its genotype. But this is not just l’art pour l’art. These two typologies are likely to reflect different social spheres: groups of objects with close parallels in terms of technical features are more closely linked to the producers, the artisans and craftsmen, whereas objects with a close optical similarity tell us more about the consumers and their shared aesthetic believes or social affiliation.

For example, if we compare one of the torcs from Fenouillet (dép. Haute-Garonne) with the one from Montans (dép. Tarn), at first glance they appear to be very similar in appearance. However, as Barbara Armbruster has proven, they differ in their manufacturing techniques.

Fenouillet torc 1

Torc 1 from Fenouillet (dép. Haute-Garonne), © B. Armbruster.

Torc from Montans (dép. Tarn),               © B. Armbruster







In this case, it is an analogous similarity: the two torcs have a similar appearance (outer typology), but they differ in terms of their construction (inner typology). Analogue similarities are likely to indicate related consumer groups, whereas homologous similarities (resemblances in construction, but different appearance) rather indicate similar production groups or workshops.

EAA session #263 – Precious materials and fine metal work in the European Iron Age – Function, aesthetic, and technology

Luxury objects are an important part of European Iron Age material culture. This is reflected in personal ornaments, decorated weapons, vessels, wagons and furniture, etc. This session deals with materials such as gold, silver, bronze, enamel, and glass as well as organic materials, such as ivory, coral, amber, and jet. These luxury materials played an important role in social, religious, economic and artistic terms that we would like to discuss.

Our session offers the opportunity to compare the trade and exchange systems of different precious materials in diverse parts of Europe. As different as the materials are, as unequal is their value. Hence, different raw materials have been accessible for different social groups; this is why the distribution patterns of different raw materials allow us to establish a more detailed reconstruction of the economic systems during a certain period and to trace the chronological dynamics in this context.  Moreover, since raw materials are always closely interrelated with networks of production and consumption, their distribution patterns and dynamics enable profound insights into the circulation of the ideas and people behind the materials.

Our aim is to bring together research dealing with different aspects of these prestigious materials and objects combining social anthropology, archaeological context, style, arts and crafts, technology and archaeometry. Therefore, we invite contributions concerned with interdisciplinary approaches to precious materials and fine metal work.

We kindly invite you to submit your abstract for the session at before February 15th.

First meeting


Our first meeting took place in the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France) from 21 to 22 September 2017, with almost all project members (see photo below).

1st meeting CELTIC GOLD – Musée d’Archéologie Nationale (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France) – Picture M. Nordez. From left to right : Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, Nicole Lockoff, Roland Schwab, Laurent Olivier, Susanne Sievers, Pierre-Yves Milcent, Sebastian Fürst, Martin Schönfelder, Barbara Armbruster. (missing: Sylvia Nieto-Pelletier, Marilou Nordez).

Celtic gold

The CELTIC GOLD project aims to renew the perception of Western La Tène culture (half Vth to Ist century BC) from the study of production and consumption of golden objects. This concerns a wide geographic area, namely France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands, and involves many aspects as economic, social, technological and artistic development.

By this blog, we want to highlight our researches, both methodological approaches (conduct of fin metal work objects, experimentations) and main results o

f this Franco-German program in Social and Human Sciences (FRAL), supported by both ANR (Agence nationale de la recherche) and DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

We hope that you could find every information that you are looking for about these topics.