X. Cratère de Vix

  • mikescottnz 6y

    The area around the village of Vix (The oppidum of Mont Lassois) in northern Burgundy, France is the site of an important 'prehistoric' complex from the Celtic Late Hallstatt and Early La Tène periods, comprising an important fortified settlement and several burial mounds. The most famous of the latter, the Vix Grave, also known as the grave of the Lady of Vix, dates to circa 500 BC. Her grave had never been looted and contained remarkably rich grave offerings, including a great deal of jewellery and the Vix krater, a gift ? , the largest known metal vessel from antiquity — being 1.63 m (5'4") in height.

    The Vix krater has become an iconic object representing both the wealth of early Celtic burials and the art of Late Archaic Greek bronze work.

    The krater was made of seven or more individual pieces with alphabetical markings, indicating that it probably was transported to Burgundy in pieces and assembled in situ.
    The vase proper, made of a single sheet of hammered bronze, weighs about 60 kg. Its bottom is rounded, its maximum diameter is 1.27 m, and its capacity is 1,100 litres (290 gallons). Its walls are only 1 to 1.3 mm thick. The krater was found crushed by the weight of the tumulus material above it. It had telescoped completely: the handles were found at the same level as the base. It was restored after excavation.
    Its foot is made of a single moulded piece, its diameter is 74 cm, its weight 20.2 kg. It received the rounded bottom of the main vase and ensured its stability. It is decorated with stylised plant motifs.
    The three handles, supported by rampant lionesses, weighed about 46 kg each. Each is a 55 cm high volute, each is elaborately decorated with a grimacing gorgon, a common motif on contemporary Greek bronzes.


    Twenty-five centuries ago, a Gallic princess richly dressed for her journey into the after-life was buried at Vix in the Côte d'Or region.

    Fifty years ago, a number of dedicated archaeologists discovered the tomb of the "Lady of Vix" with all its treasures.

    In the summer of 2003, an exhibition officially recognised as of national (Gaul/France) interest put on show a collection of remarkable treasures, moving reminders and touching evidence of a 'legendary' people: the Celts.

    "Around the Lady of Vix" is a truly exceptional exhibition (03), bearing valuable witness to the material life of people who lived during the First Iron Age, in a Europe where international trade was widely practised.

    "Winter, 1953. The dig around Mont Lassois, near Châtillon-sur-Seine, revealed a magnificent tomb, totally intact: that of the Lady of Vix, buried 2,400 years ago. The jewellery and superb drinking service discovered next to her are proof of the close exchanges between the Celtic, Greek and Etruscan territories in a region ruled by a Celtic princess or leader. Vix is now considered one of the meccas of civilisation during the First Iron Age.

    Treasure from major museums To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery, the Musée du Châtillonnais is organising an unprecedented exhibition, which will be an important occasion in the history of European archaeology. For the first time ever, objects of this period from the entire Western European space will be brought together under one roof. The treasures of the Châtillonnais site and other major sites in Burgundy will be seen next to similar objects (jewellery, funerary furnishings, fibulas etc.) from the collections of France and Europe's most prestigious museums in Paris, Naples, Berlin and many other places. Some items will be coming out of their cases solely for this occasion! A large section will also be devoted to the most recent discoveries.

    The biggest vase in Antiquity .The exhibition is exceptional from more than one point of view. It displays magnificent pieces (drinking services, jewellery etc.) that are exact contemporaries of the Vix objects. It creates an entirely new occasion for comparisons: the 'Lady of Vix's' magnificent gold torc can be seen side by side with discoveries from Ensisheim in Alsace. Above all, the celebrated crater at Vix, the biggest bronze Antique vase ever discovered, has made it possible to bring together several craters of the same category, with their typical voluted handles and Gorgons' head decorations. And yet another event: for the first time ever, the mysterious stone statue of the warrior with his extraordinary head-dress, found in 1996 at the site at Glauberg (Hesse) in Germany, can be compared with those found in 1991 at the foot of Mont Lassois.

    The refinement of the Celts. All these objects with their fascinating interrelationships reveal the extent of the cultural and commercial exchanges between the Mediterranean and the North.

    They also cast light on the brilliant Celtic civilisation of 2,500 years ago, enabling us to see that it was refined and prosperous ­a long way from the clichéd ideas that have come down to us from 19th century historiography!"

    Celtic or Gallic warrior -Vacheres by mikescottnz
  • mikescottnz 6y

    The "Palace of the Lady of Vix"
    In 2006, a remarkable architectural unit was discovered at the centre of the site. It is a large complex of two or three buildings, the main one measuring 35 by 21 m, with an estimated height of 12 m: the dimensions of a modern church. The large hall had an apse at the back and a front porch in antis. Overall, the central unit resembles the megaron complex of early Greek architecture. Such a find is unprecedented in early Celtic Europe. Finds suggested domestic use or feasting uses. The structure has been described as the "Palace" of the Lady of Vix (Palais de la Dame de Vix).

    Crater (Cratère).

    A krater (in Greek: κρατήρ, kratēr, from the verb κεράννυμι, keránnymi, meaning "I mix") was a vase used to mix wine and water.

    A shipwreck uncovered off the coast of southern France included nearly 10,000 amphorae containing nearly 300,000 litres of Greek wine, presumably destined for trade up the Rhône and Saône rivers to Gaul. It is estimated that the Greeks shipped through Massalia. In 1929, the discovery of the Vix Grave near Burgundy included several artifacts which demonstrated the strong ties between Greek wine traders and local Celtic tribes and villages. The most notable of these was a large Greek-made 'krater', designed to hold over 1000 litres of wine.
  • mikescottnz 6y

    A comparison .The Hochdorf Chieftain's Grave is a richly-furnished Celtic burial chamber dating from 530 B.C. It was discovered in 1977 near Hochdorf an der Enz (municipality of Eberdingen) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany).

    A man of 40 years old, 6 ft 2 in (187 cm) tall was laid out on a bronze couch. He had been buried with a gold-plated torc on his neck, a bracelet on his right arm, and most notably, thin embossed gold plaques were on his now-disintigrated shoes. At the foot of the couch was a large cauldron decorated with three lions around the brim. The east side of the tomb contained a four-wheeled wagon holding a set of bronze dishes -- enough to serve nine people.


    31Aug08 Hochdorf-16 by WanderNeal

    Torc from Vix
    celts - gold torque, detail by Xuan Che
  • mikescottnz 5y

    There were striking changes which took place in many parts of the early Celtic world after c.400 BC the context of the major population movements of the time, notably those which brought settlers from north of the Alps to Italy.

    More on the Vix find eja.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/5/3/275
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Taken on March 10, 2002
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