14.11.-21.12.2018, Analyses session in Mannheim – Lots of rings and coins

For our third and final analyses session for 2018 in Mannheim, we were focussing on rather unpretentious, small objects: undecorated finger and earrings from Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate and some coins.

Due to their high number coins were supposed to be excluded from the investigations in this project, but there are two exceptions: If they were found together with other gold objects or if they were part of a grave. In the case of the Mardorf hoard, which consisted mainly of Vindelic “Rainbow cups” (“Regenbogenschüsselchen”), they were associated with a finger ring made of gold wire with an interesting loop decoration that has parallels in different regions of the Celtic area at that time.

Ensemble picture of the remaining gold coins of the Mardorf hoard owned by the Hessian State Museum (Hessisches Landesmuseum) Kassel; © B. Armbruster / Hessisches Landesmuseum Kassel

These investigations were also very exciting with regard to the comparison of the gold compositions of coins and ornaments. One question of the project pursues the complex interplay of golden ring ornaments, i.e. personal costume elements, and the emergence of coinage, i.e. community good, during the Latène period. We are currently preparing a publication on that topic.

Detail of the finger ring that was part of the Mardorf hoard; © B. Armbruster / Hessisches Landesmuseum Kassel

The state of research on small earrings, in particular, has changed considerably in recent years. But we will deal with this topic in more detail in our report on the analyses in February 2019. For this session, we would like to mention a little surprise, which we experienced with the two North Hessian rings from Gießen and Battenberg (see pictures below).

Although both rings showed different plastic decorations, our SEM investigations revealed that both rings were cast (!) with their respective ornaments. One can only speculate about the reasons for this unconventional production method so far. We are preparing a publication on this subject as well, were will present the SEM pictures.

Detail of the earring from Gießen “Trieb”, grave 2; © S. Fürst / Oberhessisches Museum Gießen
Detail of the earring from the “Eisenberg” near Battenberg; © S. Fürst / Hessisches Landesmuseum Kassel

Furthermore, we were able to complete all gold objects from the extraordinary cemetery of Worms-Herrnsheim with the examination of the finds from the prominent elite burial 1, which was found in 1969. With 41 golden and one silver object, this necropolis seems to be among the most important sites of the Latène period in Germany in terms of quantity. Unfortunately, the cemetery is not yet completely published.

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

  • Gießen, Oberhessisches Museum
    • Gießen “Trieb”, Gr. 2
  • Kassel, Hessisches Landesmuseum
    • Battenberg “Eisenberg”
    • Homberg-Lembach
    • Mardorf
  • Mainz, GDKE and Worms, Museum der Stadt im Andreasstift
    • Alsheim, Gewann Goldberg, 1931
    • Bermersheim bei Worms, burial 1, 1887
    • Worms „Rädergewann“, burial from1935
    • WO-Herrnsheim elite burial from 1969
  • Mainz, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM)
    • Mardorf
    • Tayac
    • Weißenthurm
  • Mühlheim/Main, Stadtmuseum / Vor- u. Frühgesch. Arbeitsgruppe Mühlheim
    • Hausen, burial 25
  • Nidderau, Verein für Vor- und Frühgeschichte im unteren Niddertal e.V.
    • Nidderau “Hof Buchwald”
  • Saarbrücken, Univ. des Saarlandes / Prof. Dr. Sabine Hornung
    • Hermeskeil

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

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