11.-26.09.2019, Analyses session Mannheim

This analysis session focused on the Baden finds from the Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe. We used this opportunity to investigate some exciting gold finds from the Hallstatt period as well, which could not yet be inspected and analyzed in the previous project.

Among these were also several pieces from tumulus 1 of Kappel-Grafenhausen (Ortenaukreis) close to the river Rhine (fig. 1). In addition to an arm ring and a torc made of quite thick sheet gold, the tomb also contained four unusual objects: three golden bosses, one of which was decorated with small decorative knobs, as well as an elongated sheet of gold with longitudinal ribs (fig. 3). It is not yet clear what these objects are or what function they had.

Fig. 1: Ensemble of the golden objects from tumulus 1 of Kappel-Grafenhausen (Ortenaukreis); photo: B. Armbruster.

Fig. 2: The three golden bosses from Kappel, tumulus 1; photo: B. Armbruster.

Unfortunately, the gold jewellery experienced a sad fate, because it was stolen and could later only be recovered in cut pieces. The cut marks are still clearly visible on the now wavy edges of the neck ring (fig. 4).

Fig. 3: The golden sheet with longitudinal ribs from Kappel, tumulus 1; photo: B. Armbruster.

Fig. 4: The remaining pieces of the torc from Kappel, tumulus 1. The irregular edges ; photo: B. Armbruster.

We must admit that our work is sometimes a little mean to the Celtic artisans. For while the ring (like many other Iron Age works) looks very beautifully crafted to the naked eye (fig. 5), nowadays we can detect even the smallest flaws with our digital microscopes (figs 6-8). The ornament of the torc consists of five rows of decorative punches: triangle with dot, zig-zag line formed by plain triangle punches, and concentric arches.

Fig. 5: The remaining pieces of the torc from Kappel, tumulus 1; photo: B. Armbruster.

Fig. 6: Zig-zag line formed by plain triangle punches; accidental double punch between two triangles; photo: S. Fürst.

Fig. 7: Concentric arches with some accidental double punches; photo: S. Fürst.

Of course, there are sometimes minor mistakes when punching the motifs. For us, these small flaws are very interesting, because they occasionally give us information about how the individual steps in the production of the decorations went and how the craftsman once worked.

List of all find spots that have been analysed during this session:

  • Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum
    • Bretten (Sprantal), Hgl. 1
    • Dühren (5 Objekte)
    • Ihringen, Altfund von 1859
    • Kappel Hgl. 1, Gr. 1 (6 Objekte)
    • Leipferdingen (3 Objekte)
    • Meißenheim
    • Remchingen-Singen, Grab 3
    • Wahlwies
    • Walldorf
    • Wolfartsweier
  • Wiesbaden, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen
    • Ober-Erlenbach, „Am Hühnerstein“, Bef. 141 u. 210

We sincerely thank all contributors for their kind and generous support!

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