The discovery of the extraordinary Hochdorf’s grave, handled by an amateur archeologist in the 1978-79, has given the chance to have a look at the Celtic culture of the 6th century, especially in the late phase of the Hallstatt civilization.

The mound was found next to the village of Hochdorf an der Enz, neat to Stuttgart, Germany.

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The grave was enriched by several objects and tools, practically intact at the time of the discovery, dates back to a period included between 550 and 500 BC. It is one of the 100 burial sites from the 6th century BC found in France, Switzerland and Germany

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The man, buried inside the tomb was laid out on a low bronze couch-recliner, long 2.75 m (9 ft), with the seatback decorated with dance scenes engraved on the material. The feet of the couch have eight female figures, decorated with coral and lean on wheels. Although the evidence was found in Germany it is plausible to believe that the style was inspired by Italian models.

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The man, almost certainly belonging to a high lineage by looking at his rich funerary equipment, was about 40 years old in the day of death, rather tall for that period (1.85 m – 6’0.8″). The man was buried with a golden leaf necklace and a dagger, distinguishing marks of his social status and with daily used objects such as a cone shaped hat made of birch cortex, three weapons, a razor, a comb, a quiver with the arrows.

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The golden decorations on the dagger, the shoes and the belt, were all made to embellish the funerary equipment, which also included dishes, cutlery and glasses for nine people. Furthermore the grave had an extraordinary cauldron in bronze, adorned by three crouched lions probably coming from Magna Graecia.

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A golden cap was used to pour the mead, contained in a big jar, to nine horns utilised for drinking. Only one of the horns is made of iron and decorated with gold leaves, probably destined to the dead man, whereas the other eight were made of wood.

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Part of the equipment was placed on top of a cart with four wheels, enriched with iron leaves decorations.

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To preserve the grave from thefts, all around the burial room, set 2.5 m deep (8 ft), there was a wooden fence filled up with stones, used to cover the flat wooden ceiling too.

Originally the mound was 6 m high (20 ft), but when the discovery occurred it was almost entirely flattened out due to the erosion and the farming. Only a circle of stones placed all around the hillrock could suggest the funerary site. The area is famous for other discoveries of this nature, in fact around the area of Hohennasperg other burial sites have been found.

In Keltenmuseum of Hochdorf / Enz a replica of the funerary chamber can be seen. As for the original evidence, they are exposed at the Württembergisches Landesmuseum of Stuttgart.

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