Beer and luxury in the Iron Age in Europe

Beer and luxury in the Iron Age in Europe

If you wanted to get ahead in the Iron Age in Central Europe you should use a strategy that still works today, dress to impress and throw alcohol free bar parties.

People pre-roman celtic practiced what archaeologist Bettina Arnold calls'competitive feasts' in which people with a social and political status tried to outdo each other in feasts.

Objects recovered from two 2,600-year-old Celtic burial mounds in southwestern Germany, including objects for personal adornment and glasses for alcohol, give an idea of ​​how these people lived in times when there are no written records.

That was the objective of the research project duringmore than 10 yearssays Arnold, a professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and co-director of an excavation at the Heuneburg fort in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. The work was funded in part by the National Geographic Society and Arnold collaborated with the State Monuments Office in Tübingen, Germany.

In fact, based on the drinking glasses found in tombs near the settlement of the castro and other imported objects, archaeologists have concluded that the European Celts they had trade along the Mediterranean.

¿Brewing of beer or mead?

Beer was the drink of the barbarians, while wine was more for the elite, especially if you lived near a trade route”Says Kevin Cullen, an archaeologist associated with the Discovery World project in Milwaukee and a former Arnold doctoral student.

The grapes had not yet been introduced in central Europe, so the import of grape wine showed higher social status. The Celts also made their wine based on honey, or mead, spiced with herbs and flowers, it would have been more expensive than beer but less than grape wine.

They also made a wheat beer or barley hops that could be mixed with the mead or consumed alone, but it had to be consumed shortly after making. ‘Keltenbräu ’ is an example of beer. It would have been a dark beer, toasted with a smoky flavor.

For the upper class, the amount of alcohol consumed was as important as the quality. Arnold has found at least one completely intact cauldron that was used to boil alcoholic beverages in one of the tombs in Heuneburg.

But it is difficult recovery of nine horns used for drinking, including one that contained 10 liters, in a tomb of a chief near Hochdorf in 1970.

Along with their fondness for alcohol, according to the Greeks and Romans the Celtic population of this period was favored with flashy embellishments, shiny and striped fabricssays Arnold. The demand is difficult to verify because clothing and leather are perishable.

The Heuneburg mounds show evidence of both, despite the fact that no skeletal remains by the acidity of the soil. But the group of archaeologists has been able to rebuild items of clothing and ornamentation using new technology.

Instead of trying to excavate fragile metal scraps like hairpins, jewelry, weapons, and clothespins, Arnold and his colleagues enclosed earth blocks containing gypsum blocks to then put the blocks through a CT or CT scan.

We found fabulous leather belts in some of the high-status women's gravesites, along with thousands of small bronze staples attached to the leather that took hours to make.", He says. "I call them the Harley-Davison Biker Girls of the Iron Age”. The images show the fine details and archaeologists have theorized that some of the objects they weren't just for fashion.

You can know if he was a man, a woman, a child, married, if he had a certain role in society and much more, thanks to what they wore”.

The pins that held the I see on a woman's head, for example, also appear as symbol of her marital status and perhaps motherhood. Another gender-specific adornment, such as bracelets worn on the left arm found in men's graves, but bracelets worn on both arms and necklaces were only found in women's graves.

Surprisingly, it was the inclement metal in contact with linen and cotton in the tombs what has allowed them to be preserved. Pieces of cloth stuck to metal allowed archaeologists to use microscopic inspection to recreate the colors and patterns used.

When you can actually rebuild the wardrobe"Says Arnold,"suddenly all those people are there, in three dimensions. They have faces. They can almost be said to have personalities”.

ViaUniversity of Wisconsin

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.

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