Archaeologists Uncover Royal Celtic Burial Site in Small French Town

Joseph Bamat, France 24, March 5, 2015

France’s National Archaeological Research Institute (Inrap) on Wednesday revealed the discovery of an ancient grave site, probably that of a Celtic prince, which is helping shed light on trade between some of Europe’s earliest civilizations.

Archaeologists uncovered the tomb dating from the fifth century BC in an industrial zone in the small town of Lavau, in France’s Champagne region. Inrap, which routinely scours construction sites in order to find and preserve the country’s archaeological heritage, began excavating at Lavau site in October 2014.

A 40-metre-wide burial mound of the Celtic ruler crowns a larger funeral complex, which archaeologists said preceded the royal’s final resting place, and could have first been built during the Bronze Age.

The prince was buried with his prized possessions, which archaeologists said were still being unearthed.

The most exciting find has been a large bronze-decorated cauldron that was used to store watered-down wine. Inrap said it appears to have been made by Etruscan craftsmen in what is now northern Italy.

Buried inside the cauldron was a surprisingly-well preserved ceramic wine pitcher made by Greeks.

The pieces “are evidence of the exchanges that happened between the Mediterranean and the Celts,” Inrap president Dominique Garcia recently told journalists on a field visit.

Garcia said the end of the sixth and beginning of the fifth centuries BC were characterised by the rise of Etruscan and Greek city states like Marseille in southern France.

Mediterranean merchants, seeking slaves, metals and other precious goods, opened trading channels with continental Celts, and often presented ornate goods as “a kind of diplomatic gifts” to local leaders, Garcia said.


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  • LeonNJ

    Watered-down wine?

    Well, he may have been their prince, but they weren’t going to send him off onto the next world with the good stuff!

    • Reynardine

      It’s a little strange how they’d be able to tell that, as all they’d find left in the cauldrons would be wine residue. Maybe it’s the concentration of the residue over the cauldron’s entire surface area?

      Also, mixing wine with water or snow was a common feature of banqueting on the Mediterranean. I water down my wine when I’m working outside, it keeps me hydrated better, and makes the box go a little further.

  • Anglokraut

    Oh my, “seeking slaves”? I eagerly await the Afro-centric crowd’s “special” interpretation of this to mean that the Celts were black, because Whites have never been enslaved.

    • Susannah

      I wouldn’t be surprised by anything they claim. I’ve heard some dimwits who believe that the “Black Irish” were actually sub-Saharan.

      • John Smith

        The likely explanation is that they were proto-Basques, since both some British Isles populations and Basques share similar genetic markers. The Celts weren’t the first inhabitants of the British Isles.

        • Zimriel

          Probably right.

          I remember trying to learn Welsh when I was going to school in the “Marches” (Shropshire). I’d already had exposure to Spanish by then, and the school was trying to teach me Greek and French. Greek and French kind-of have similar grammatical rules. Even more so if you go back to Linear-B and old Latin.

          But Welsh was WEIRD – more weird, even, than the Old Irish I saw on Wikipedia (this just looked like old Latin). The linguists told us that Welsh is a Celtic language but it didn’t look much like Latin, or even old Irish.

          There must have been something behind Welsh – and it sure as heck wasn’t English (Welsh-pride aside, we English’re Germanic and Latinate). Whatever pulled Welsh away from old Irish and Latin was something that wasn’t Indo-European.

    • Zimriel

      There still needs to be a definitive book on the intra-European slave-trade. This is still going on (Taken isn’t just a movie). The mainstream publishers will say it’s raciss to notice that blondes are most prized; but I think we have enough talent here to self-publish or small-press-publish such a work.

      In Gaul, the trade in flesh dwindled away during the Roman Empire. But the trade was a HUGE factor in Germany and – even more so – the Slavic lands. The very word “slave” comes from “slav”.

  • John Smith

    ISIS will bulldoze it in the next few decades….

  • willbest

    Outstanding, can my people have our land back? That is how it works right? I am new to this whole grievance thing.

  • M.A

    I’m surprised at the ‘watered down wine ‘ thing. I have read, from a couple of sources, that the Romans, deliberately or not, waged one of the earliest forms of chemical warfare on the Gauls/Celts by trading them strong wine. The Gauls, being beer drinkers, drank the wine neat, unwatered and this caused enormous disruption in their societies, weakening them greatly and making invasion that much easier. German tribes. across the Rhine, saw the damage done and banned the importation of wine.

    The Proto- Basque explanation is probably correct
    in explaining ‘Black Irish’. That is, the pre-Celtic Bronze Age people of both Ireland and Britain. I’m one myself. Black hair ( well, once upon a time!) deep brown eyes, sallow skin. With a tan i have been mistaken for both Italian and Spanish.