A ‘Princely’ Iron Age Burial Discovered in France

French Iron Age burial

The burial and grave goods (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)

French archaeologists excavating an Iron Age burial mound have uncovered the remains of a richly furnished burial dating from the 5th century BC. Most likely representing the final resting place of a local Iron Age aristocrat, the mound measured approximately 40m in diameter and was located near the small village of Lavau, in north-western France. Previous work at the site had uncovered a number of high status grave goods, including a magnificent bronze cauldron (discussed here).

Celtic burial

The burial and gold torc (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)

Archaeologist from INRAP have now revealed that a human skeleton, resting on a two wheeled chariot, was also discovered near the centre of the mound. As of yet the sex of the individual has not been determined, but they were undoubtedly someone of great standing, possibly a local prince or princess.


The gold bracelets (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)

As fitting their status in life, the individual was buried wearing a number of precious jewellery items. These included a solid gold torc, weighing 580 grams, that was decorated with a ‘double winged monster pattern’. They also wore a pair of gold bracelets on their wrists, while their left bicep contained a lignite armband. Several amber beads, possibly representing the remains of a necklace or hair jewellery, were found close to the neck and a coral clasp may have been used to fasten a cloak.

Iron age cauldron

The bronze cauldron (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)

The human remains and artefacts from this lavish burial are currently undergoing specialist analysis and it is hoped that this will reveal even more information about the Lavau ‘Prince’ or ‘Princess’.


Detail from the bronze cauldron (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)


An imported wine jug (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)


Detail from the Bronze cauldron (© Denis Gliksman, Inrap)

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