There is a new series on BBC4 - The Celts (Blood, Iron and Sacrifice), the two presenters, Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver are the 'face' of a lot of archaeology on television, and they did their stuff winding their way through the complex history of these Celtic people.
There was an over emphasis on the written record of the somewhat biased Romans, the Celts did not write, or to be more precise, there is no evidence as yet to prove that they did. The title says it all, battles, bloodshed and butchering a somewhat male interpretation of a people. Ask questions as to how their day to day life went on, and we only got the salt mines of Hallstatt, fascinating as they were, and a brief description of almost 5000 burials here, presumably most with grave goods.
All this of course needs, the daily wherewithal of food, clothes (yes I know they fought naked) and the acquisition of exquisite jewellery and trappings, not only for themselves but for their horses as well, life was not only ever to be found at the point of a sword, there must have been weavers, potters, blacksmiths and farmers, and of course women played an equal role in society.
During the programme they mentioned the Hochdorf burial in Germany, something we had seen on our visit there to deliver some scrolls. The museum had a very elegant reconstruction of the burial of the chief/prince, also of the excavations that had taken place, so for once not the vision of men slaughtering each other, this by the way, if you look at our own medieval history, is still a common thread of many a historic tale, but a few photos of the settlement and the inside of the museum.
It had taken years by many experts, to produce the burial scene, everything is a replica, the dedication that had gone into the museum and the reconstructed barrow was there to inform in a manner that educates as to the whole picture and not just scrappy interpretations of Celtic warriors battling and savagely sticking victims heads on spike, (we haven't come to that bit yet}, but can't you remember from school history the savagery of being hung, drawn and quartered and the head of the poor victim speared on the outside of the city walls for a long time in our own history?
|There were farm steads excavated, and the museum has a small area of Celtic buildings|
|stand up loom|
|The burial reconstruct|
|the great gold cauldron for feasting|
|The rebuilt barrow amongst the snow - it was very cold!|
|Outside the museum, the curving pipe is the height of the barrow|
|Isn't he pretty ;)|
|This 'sofa' was crushed into a thousand pieces when excavated from under the barrow, though of course it is not the original one, which we saw at the Stuttgart museum Celtic Exhibition|
So I shall await the next two episodes, with a somewhat critical air maybe, but the ability of television to whip you to Hallstatt in a blink, and show you a landscape that is both beautiful and difficult, does bring these mysterious people closer, and those salt mines did open my eyes to actual commerce that took place in times long gone, and the visit to Hochdorf Museum etched out a more docile people, or at least people who had an everyday life far removed from battle.....