Glauberg (Hessen), Germany

I. The Site

The Glauberg is a hill located ca. 32 km to the north-east of Frankfurt at Glauburg. The hilltop was fortified in antiquity. A circular trench ca. 70m in Dia around a large tumulus of ca. 50 m Dia was discovered from the air in 1987 and is currently being excavated. Leading to the tumulus from the SE was a road or "processional way" ca. 350 m long, 10 m wide. The excavation is visible to the right (south) of the wooded hill.

after Herrmann 1997, 7

II . The Tomb

Plan of tumulus, road and other structures as excavated, showing find site of the statue and tombs. Tomb 2 was a smaller cremation burial containing a sword and a Röhrenkanne (flagon) similar to those from Waldalgesheim and Reinheim.

after Herrmann 1997, 7

Tomb 1, a wood-clad chamber ca. 2.25 x 1.07 m and under 1 m H, was not the primary chamber, which was found empty. Tombs 1 and 2 were secured and moved intact from the site to Wiesbaden in 1994, where they continue to be excavated and analyzed.

after A.W. 1995, 6

Bronze flagon from Tomb 1
As excavated, still held together with tape
originally wrapped in cloth

after Herrmann 1995

Flagon from Tomb 1
Detail of cast male figure perched cross-legged at the top of the handle, and two hybrid creatures on the rim.

after Herrmann 1997, 10

Ribbed Flagon from the Dürrnberg, Austria.
45.8 cm H; late 5th c. BCE
Very similar in vessel form and ribbing of vessel body. At the top of the handle is a beast with ram's horns resting its chin on a disembodied human head. The beasts on the rim are devouring their prey.

Gold torc from Tomb 1
La Tène A style with large balusters, creatures and floral elements.

after Herrmann 1997, 11

Tomb 1 is a current example of the attitude toward gender still prevalent in German archaeology. When the jewelry and flagon were first discovered, the tomb was declared to be that of a princess ("Keltenfürstin"); however, as soon as spear points were identified by X-ray, the burial was resexed and is now published as male (see Sex and Gender). It will be very interesting to see what osteological analysis of the physical remains reveals.

III. The Statue and Comparanda

Statue in situ
Found in a wide trench to the west of Tomb 1

Local sandstone
life-size -- 1.86 m pres. H

after Herrmann 1996, 334 fig 2

Excavating the statue, 1996
Armor and shield are clearly visible; rear view not yet published

after Herrmann 1996, 334 fig 3

Detail of statue

Bearded head of statue with "Blattkrone" -- wreath of leaves very common on La Tène A heads, usually interpreted as divine. From the photos, the headgear looks to me to consist of two parts: the teardrop-shaped appendages to the sides, and a helmet of LTA type on the head. Note the torc with 3 balusters, bracelet, armlets and ring. The staring eyes and downturned moustache result in an extremely grim expression.

after Herrmann 1996, 333 fig 1

The proportions and pose of the figure are reminiscent of those of the late-Hallstatt period "warrior" from Hirschlanden. The Glauberg figure is far from naked, however; he is clad in armor, provided with a shield and plenty of jewelry. His elaborate finery places him closer to the "warrior" from Capestrano than the naked Hirschlanden figure.

The similarity of the parure to that discovered in Tomb 1 in the same tumulus has led to speculation that the statue might represent a portrait of the Tomb 1 occupant or of another Keltenfürst buried in the tumulus. We have no reason to believe that the Celts practiced portraiture, however; indeed, their art appears to be consistently non-naturalistic. In addition, the Glauberg statue's head is flanked by two protrusions of a type usually associated with non-mortal figures, e.g. the four-sided pillar from Pfalzfeld, or the Janus-headed sculpture from Holzgerlingen. I am not convinced that the Glauberg statue represents a mortal, much less as a portrait.

Hirschlanden Warrior

Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart

Capestrano "Warrior"

Museo Archeologico Nazionale d'Abruzzo

ca. 1.5 m pres. H
late 5th - early 4th c. BCE
Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn

over 2 m pres. H
prob. 5th c. BCE
Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart