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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Avanton Gold Cone

Avanton Gold Cone

Avanton Gold Cone

The Avanton Gold Cone is a late Bronze Age European artefact, belonging to the group of only four Golden Hats discovered thus far. It is made from thin sheet gold and was attached externally to long conical and brimmed headdresses which served to stabilise the outer gold leaf. Golden hats are a particular and rare type of archaeological artefact known as the “cone-shaped gold hats of the Schifferstadt type” named after the first that was discovered. The gold cones are covered in bands of ornaments along their whole length and extent. The decorations mostly disks and concentric circles, sometimes wheels, were punched using stamps or rolls.

The four Golden Hats discovered so far are:

  • Golden Hat of Schifferstadt (1400–1300 BC) was found in 1835 at Schifferstadt near Speyer.
  • Avanton Gold Cone (1000–900 BC) was found incomplete at Avanton near Poitiers in 1844.
  • Golden Cone of Ezelsdorf-Buch (1000–900 BC) was found near Ezelsdorf near Nuremberg in 1953 and is the tallest at 90 cm.
  • Berlin Gold Hat (1000–800 BC) was found probably in Swabia or Switzerland, and acquired by a museum in Berlin, in 1996.

The Avanton Cone was the second of the Gold Hats to be discovered. It was found in 1844 in a field near the village of Avanton, about 12 km north of Poitiers, France. It was damaged more than the other hats and compared to the others, part of the brim is missing. The Avanton Cone is on display in the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.

The hats are associated with the Proto-Celtic Bronze Age culture from 1300 BC – 750 BC, which had some common elements across most of central Europe. Their close similarities in symbolism and techniques of manufacture are a testimony to a coherent Bronze Age culture over a wide-ranging territory in eastern France and western and southwestern Germany.

The archaeological contexts of the Golden Hats are not very clear. It is assumed that the Golden Hats served as a religious symbol for the priests of a sun cult which was then widespread in Central Europe. Their use as head-gear is strongly supported by the fact that the three of four examples have a cap-like widening at the bottom of the cone, and that their openings are oval, not round, with shapes equivalent to those of a human skull. The figural depiction of an object resembling a conical hat on a stone slab of the King’s Grave at Kivik, Southern Sweden, strongly supports their association with religion and cult.

Golden Hats

The Golden Hat of Schifferstadt and the first discovered

Attempts to decipher the Golden Hats’ ornamentation suggest that their cultic role is accompanied or complemented by their use as sophisticated calendrical devices. Whether they were really used for such purposes, or simply presented the underlying astronomical knowledge, remains unknown.

The gold hats can be seen at the following museums:

  • Berlin Gold Hat at Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Berlin, Germany
  • Golden Hat of Schifferstadt at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz, Speyer, Germany
  • Golden Cone of Ezelsdorf-Buch at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, Germany
  • Avanton Gold Cone at the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

Avanton Gold Cone

  • Name:             Avanton Gold Cone
  • French:            Cône d’Or d’Avanton or Cône d’Avanton
  • Date:              1500-1250 BC
  • Period:            late Bronze Age
  • Material:         Bronze
  • Dimensions:    55 cm long and weighs 285 g
  • Discovered:    in 1844 in a field near the village of Avanton
  • Museum:        National Archaeological Museum, France

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Reflections

  • Why have pointed hats been so popular in so many cultures throughout history?
  • The Celts were fearless warriors and their priest had Golden Cone Hat?

~~~

“The Celts were fearless warriors
because they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets,
that souls do not become extinct,
but pass after death from one body to another.”
– Julius Caesar

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) No machine-readable author provided. Calame assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]; DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

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