Very interesting news from France where archaeologists working for INRAP have found the remains of a magnificent bronze cauldron. It was discovered inside a large burial mound, which dates from the 5th century BC. Most likely the final resting place of a local Iron Age aristocrat, the mound measures approximately 40m in diameter and is located near the small village of Lavau, in northwestern France.
Although the excavation is still ongoing, the central burial chamber is starting reveal some of its treasures. The most impressive of these to date is a very large bronze cauldron, which is most likely of Greek or Etruscan manufacture. An item of great prestige, the cauldron reflects the very high status of the person interred inside the burial mound.
The cauldron measures approximately 1 m in diameter and has four handles which are decorated with bronze heads that depict the Greek river god Acheloos. Further decorative motifs are found around the rim of of the vessel, including eight lion heads. Inside the cauldron lies a ceramic wine vessel (oniochoe) that is decorated with an image of Dionysus.
The cauldron originally held wine and would have represented a conspicuous display of its owners wealth and power when used during banquets or similar festivities. Its presence inside the tomb reflects the increasing interaction between Frances’ ‘Celtic’ elites and the Mediterranean world during this period. Similar vessels are know from a number of broadly contemporary ‘Celtic’ burial mounds, including Bourges and Vix in France and La Heuneburg Hochdorf in Germany.