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.