Biblical Archaeology Review 43:2, March/April 2017


Brno-Maloměřice, Czech Republic

This bronze head originally adorned a wooden pitcher. Just over 1.5 inches tall, it was found in a Celtic cemetery near Brno-Maloměřice, Czech Republic, and dates to the third century B.C.E.

Because the Celts were largely illiterate, what we know of their spiritual world comes to us through the lens of Roman historians, such as Julius Caesar or Tacitus, who noted the importance of animals—both real and mythical—in Celtic religion. This decorative head probably represents an ibex whose horns once swirled around the pitcher’s spout. Whatever the symbolic meaning of the decoration, the original pitcher most likely was featured in Celtic funeral rituals.

This extraordinary example of Celtic handicraft can be viewed in the Moravian Museum in Brno, Czech Republic.

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