Hochdorf: Gold and Bronze Fibulae

View of gold fibulae.

Alternate view of fibulae.

Gold Fibulae (pre-restoration)

Bronze serpentine fibula.

6.4 cm L

Length: ca. 6.5 and 6.1 cm
Weight: between 16 and 18 grams of gold each.
Fibulae are pins, normally used to fasten clothing. These serpentine fibulae, and two counterparts in bronze, were found on the upper chest of the "chieftain's" body. Each is composed of seven separately-worked parts.

Additional bronze fibulae were found in the Hochdorf tomb; two on the "chieftain's" breast, while the rest were used to attach textiles to the wooden walls of the burial chamber. Because of the date of the cauldron, the precise dating of the Hochdorf tumulus is difficult, and may require a re-evaluation of the chronology of late Hallstatt fibulae (Biel 1985, 160 ff.). Serpentine fibulae are typical for the period Hallstatt D1, while "Paukenfibeln," of which two were found in the Hochdorf tomb, belong to the more recent Hallstatt D2. The tomb thus pinpoints the transition from Hallstatt D1 to D2. The absolute chronology, however, is less straightforward -- the tomb would be dated to a bit after 550 based on the indigenous objects, including the fibulae. Since the cauldron could hardly have been made much before 525, however, and since a certain amount of time must be allowed for the cauldron to arrive at Hochdorf and the third lion to be made, the earlier date has been called into question.

Stuttgart: Württembergisches Landesmuseum.