Northern Europe longdistance influences

That prestige goods ornamented in the La Tene style penetrated beyond the Celtic world into the Germanic regions of Northern Europe was uniquely demonstrated by the discovery in 1952, in a pit under a stone cairn at Bra in east Jutland, of the remains of a magnificent communal cauldron (Klindt-Jensen, 1953). The fragmentary remains had been deposited under a pair of boulders with a large, iron socketed axe but otherwise with no associated artefacts, and no evidence of a burial. The cauldron had been of beaten bronze, with massive attachments for handles made of bronze-plated iron, and rim likewise of iron. A globular vessel of this form, with rim diameter in the order of one metre, has been estimated as having a capacity of 600 litres, so that its function was undoubtedly communal and probably ceremonial or ritual. The cauldron was suspended by three ring-handles, on either side of which, facing outward, were similar but not identical 'Disney Style' bull's heads (Figure 6.8A). Facing inwards from the handle-mounts were attachments in the shape of owl's heads (Figure 6.8B). The contrast in mood between the two groups could not be greater. The bulls are depicted as benign, their wide, rounded eyes firmly outlined by thin, raised mouldings. The muzzle is softly modelled, and the mouths are very slightly open beneath rounded nostrils. Between the upturned horns what Klindt-Jensen called 'cow-licks' are neatly portrayed in the same grooved technique that had characterized the eyebrows of the Malomerice bull or the Manching linch-pins. By contrast, the owl's heads are mean and menacing,

Figure 6.7 Rein-rings and linch-pins with face-images in relief. A: 1, rein-ring, 'Paris'. Musée des Antiquités Nationales. Photo: RMN, Paris © Gérard Blot; 2, linch-pin, 'Paris'. Musée des Antiquités Nationales. Photo: RMN, Paris © Georges Poncet. B: Manching, Bavaria. Photo: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Munich.

Figure 6.7 Rein-rings and linch-pins with face-images in relief. A: 1, rein-ring, 'Paris'. Musée des Antiquités Nationales. Photo: RMN, Paris © Gérard Blot; 2, linch-pin, 'Paris'. Musée des Antiquités Nationales. Photo: RMN, Paris © Georges Poncet. B: Manching, Bavaria. Photo: Archäologische Staatssammlung, Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Munich.

with lentoid eyes, heavily-hooded eye-lids and pronounced 'bags' beneath the eyes. The owl's heads have crests depicted in the same grooved style, again rather like the Malomerice griffon, from the back of which extend a low-relief tendril design, sub-Waldalgesheim in origin perhaps, but itself executed in a manner closer to the curvilinear motifs of the Plastic Style. Whatever the mechanism of transmission, the bull protomes and owls from Brâ would most easily have been the product of an eastern Central European workshop of the third century bc.

Actual imports of plainly Central European Iron Age types are relatively few in Northern Europe, though there is abundant evidence for cultural contacts from Hallstatt through to middle and later La Tène times. The Elbe river and the Oder to the east afforded natural arteries from Central Europe to the north German

Hallstatt Decorated Ceramics
Figure 6.8 Bull's (A) and owl's (B) heads from the Bra cauldron. Photos: Moesgard Museum.

plain, and in Holstein and Hannover there is a range of metal and ceramic forms which Klindt-Jensen and others described as Celto-Germanic. In the Danish peninsula, however, almost invariably for the La Tene period those influences are seen on types that are unquestionably of local manufacture. Shield-bosses from Hjortspring, and a handful of torcs, brooches and belt-fittings display some similarities to Central European forms or styles, but the nature of the connections they imply, and the date of transmission are notoriously hard to evaluate. Ball-torcs afford a classic illustration of the dilemma. A wholly local type in their basic design, their enlarged ball terminals bear simple designs that must be borrowed directly from the Plastic Style of Celtic Europe. An example from T0mmerup (Klindt-Jensen, 1953, Pl. XII, a) is decorated with bossed spirals, while another from Gammelborg, M0en (Klindt-Jensen, 1953, Pl. XI, bottom right, Pl. XII, c), has relief triskeles on its ball terminals. Broadly assigned to the second century bc, Danish examples are found principally in bogs, presumably as votive deposits, whereas significant numbers have been found in central Sweden in the context of graves.

In the light of the mobility and interaction between Eastern and Western European communities and their neighbours in the middle La Tene period implicit in the historical record, it would be surprising had there not been far-reaching contacts of some sort with Northern Europe at the same time, even if classical historians were not on hand to record such events. By the close of the second century they were only too well aware of the reciprocal movement of tribes from the north, Cimbri and Teutones from the Danish peninsula, whose impact on the trans-alpine and cisalpine world was abrupt and violent.

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