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KUNSTHALLE SCHIRN

MAY 24. – SEPTEMBER 1. 2002

 



 

 

 

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"THE MYSTERY OF THE CELTS OF GLAUBERG"


AS FROM 24 MAY – 1 SEPTEMBER 2002 , THE SCHIRN PRESENTS THE HESSIAN STATE EXHIBITION "THE MYSTERY OF THE CELTS OF GLAUBERG," WHICH
OFFERS AN INSIGHT INTO THE FASCINATING WORLD OF CELTIC CULTURE.

When the streets of Rome resounded with the warning "The Celts are coming!" in 387 BC, only the treacherous cackling of the geese at night saved the city from its final defeat. Without heralding any danger, the shout rings out again in 2002 AD. With 900 items from 60 European museums, the exhibition "The Mystery of the Celts of Glauberg " presented at the SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT from 24 May to 1 September 2002 offers a comprehensive survey of the fascinating world of Celtic culture. The amazing archaeological discoveries made near the Glauberg in the eastern Wetterau northeast of Frankfurt in the mid-nineties have resulted in a number of sensational insights changing our understanding of the Celts. The magnificently furnished tombs of a lord, a keltenfürst, a so-called "procession street," the vast structures
surrounding the tumulus, and, above all, the four life-size sandstone warriors, of which one has survived almost completely, constitute a unique ensemble for the early Celtic pre-Christian 5th century. The Glauberg finds, which have not been presented in a public context before, form the highlight of the show. Together with numerous significant international loans, they convey an unprecedented overall picture of the earliest European large sculpture between the 7th and the 3rd centuries BC.

For Ruth Wagner, the Hessian Minister for Science and Art, the "state exhibition ‘The Mystery of the Celts of Glauberg’ constitutes a crucial component within the general concept of the Hessian government to present the numerous Celtic finds to the north of Frankfurt – which are also extraordinarily remarkable on an international level – in a European perspective and make them accessible to the general public. The exhibition at the SCHIRN and the plan to link the various archaeological sites in the region north of Frankfurt make up an attractive overall approach."

Max Hollein, Director of the SCHIRN: "Presenting the current state of research on the Celts in a both graphic and gripping manner, the exhibition is an essential index for our times’ far-reaching interest in this culture. ‘The Mystery of the Celts of Glauberg’ is aimed at attracting a wide manifold public and will certainly do so."

The history of the Celts poses many questions. How did these people live? What did their structures of power look like? What kind of faith did they have? Why are there no
written records of such a highly developed culture? Its origins are still open although there can be no doubt that the Celts exercised a decisive influence on the history of large parts of Europe for several centuries. Their primary settlement area was today’s southern Germany and eastern France, as well as the region around Frankfurt. >From there, Celtic tribes moved to Spain, Upper Italy, the Balkans, and even as far as Asia Minor in the course of several major migrations. Conquering various lands, they created new empires. In the 4th century BC, a Celtic army under Brennus reached Rome and took the city. In the 3rd century BC, Celtic bands entered Greece
and sacked the oracle of Delphi. Finally, Celtic culture lost its independence because of the advancing Romans and Germans in the 1st century BC. Generally, the early
epoch (8th - 5th centuries BC) is called the Hallstatt Culture after the archaeological site in today’s Austria, the later epoch (5th - 1st centuries) the La Tène Culture after
the Swiss archaeological site.

According to what we knew about the Celts up till now, the area of today’s Hesse was actually situated on the periphery of the Celtic world. Most of the numerous archaeological sites of the Hallstatt and the La Tène cultures are to be found in the south and in the middle of it. The things discovered there elucidate the fact that culturalinfluences from adjacent regions always played a certain part. Though the Celtic forms of settlement still leave various questions relating to this problem unanswered, there seems to be no doubt that the people that organized themselves in clans and tribes initially lived in open settlements dominated by the chieftains’ towering castle-like hill forts towards the end of the Hallstatt Period and the beginnings of the La Tène Period. As documented by many finds, such a mighty seat of power located on the Glauberg seems to have been the center of an extensive settlement.

The discovery of early Celtic tombs on the Glauberg in the mid-nineties is to be regarded as a sensation. Beneath the burial mound which people reached on a "procession street" flanked by deep ditches and absolutely unique in its kind, the then Hessian State Archaeologist Dr. Fritz-Rudolf Herrmann came upon a magnificently furnished inhumation grave from the 5th century BC. The splendid burial objects comprised a wonderful beaked jug (schnabelkanne) of bronze, a golden ring with figurative ornaments – a unique specimen of exquisite quality – as well as finger, arm and ear rings made of pure gold. These wonderful objects with their fascinating ornaments
carrying us off to the world of Celtic mythology and its oddly deformed human, animal, and fabulous creatures point to a high-ranking personality, a lord. A near cremation grave yielded further outstanding finds such as a very rare flagon (röhrenkanne).


mayakopf

As sensational as these ensembles are, the sandstone stele discovered at the foot of the tumulus even eclipses them. The almost entirely preserved "Lord of Glauberg" ("Fürst vom Glauberg") excavated besides three further nearly identical fragmentary figures is one of the most significant recent finds of the European prehistoric world. The exhibition presents the figure in the center of a circle of 40 large sculptures from all over Europe. This singular arrangement illustrates most impressively that almost identical notions concerning self-portrayal, faith, and the belief in the hereafter seem to have prevailed in the ruling social classes of middle and southern Europe around 500 BC. A crucial aspect of the highly complex Celtic society was the balance between power and wealth which was stabilized by both military ventures and by the trade
with the Mediterranean world. Raw materials such as the much sought-after salt were the Celts’ important commodities. The white gold from the saltworks of Bad Nauheim probably also provided the foundation for the Glauberg Celts’ wealth evidenced by the numerous precious burial objects.

Relying on magnificent items, historical sources, and recent scientific results, the exhibition "The Mystery of the Celts of Glauberg " tells the turbulent and fascinating story of Celtic culture that molded the face of Europe for several centuries and has lost nothing of its mystery till today.
VIRTUAL ANIMATION AND EXHIBITION RESTORATION: This is the first show of its kind to use the latest virtual animation techniques for the presented finds. Another important element is an archaeological workshop where visitors will learn about the present-day methods of the discipline in an exhibition restoration.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: The SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT has developed a comprehensive educational program titled "Following the Celts’ Traces" which
addresses special target groups of wide sections of the public. In guided tours aimed at the visitors’ immediate experience and creative workshops based on modern
didactic strategies, as well as in scientific lecture series, both children and grown-ups will be offered an opportunity to become familiar with the mystery of the Celts.
Additional sources of information such as audio guides, the exhibition homepage, and a well-researched catalog complete the offer. Please call ++49/69/29 98 82-112 for
information and bookings; e-mail: keltenfuehrungen@schirn.de.

THE CELTIC TRAIL: This road links the archaeological Glauberg sites. Opening and festivities: 18 and 19 May 2002. For further information see www.keltenstrasse.de and www.glauburg.de.

CATALOG: A catalog will be published on the occasion of the exhibition: "The Mystery of the Celts of Glauberg. Faith – Myth – Reality," edited by Hessische Kultur
GmbH, 344 pages, ca. 400, mostly colored illustrations, brochured edition in the exhibition: 24,90 €; hardcover trade edition with dust wrappers: introduction prize until 31
December 2002 34,90 €, after 39,90 €, ISBN 3-8062-1592-8, Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart.

SPONSORS: The exhibition was supported by the Hessian Ministry for Science and Art, the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the Hessische Kulturstiftung, the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Hessen Thüringen and donations in kind by various firms. The educational program is sponsored by the Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung and the
1822-Stiftung der Frankfurter Sparkasse. MEDIA PARTNERS: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Hessischer Rundfunk Fernsehen.

VENUE: SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT, Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt. EXHIBITION DATES: 24 May – 1 September 2002. OPENING HOURS: Sun + Tue: 11.00am – 7.00 pm, Wed – Sat 11.00 am – 10 pm. ADMISSION (audio guide included): 8 €, reduced: 5 €, season ticket: 15 €, reduced: 10 €. Free admission to the exhibition "The Celtic Lord of Frankfurt – Power and Funeral Cults around 700 BC" at the Archaeological Museum in Frankfurt with a SCHIRN ticket. INFORMATION: www.keltenausstellung.de, www.schirn.de, e-mail: welcome@schirn.de, phone: ++49/69/29 98 82-0, fax: ++49/69/29 98 82-240.