The Gundestrup Cauldron

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Acta Archaeologica vol. 76, 2005, pp. 158 Copyright C 2005Printed in Denmark All rights reservedACTA ARCHAEOLOGICAISSN 0065-101XTHE GUNDESTRUP CAULDRONNewScientic and Technical InvestigationsbyS\rxr Nirrsrx, J.x Horvr Axrrnsrx, Jorr A. B.krn, Cn.nrir Cnnis+rxsrx, Jrxs Gr.s+ntr, Pir+rn M. Gnoo+rs,M.++ni.s Htrs, Anxr Jot++i\n\i, Enrixo Brxxrn L.nsrx, Hrror Bnixcn M.rsrx, K.+n.nix. Mtrrrn,M.nir-Josrr N.rr.t, S+rr.x Ronns, Hrikr S+ror, Zori. Axx. S+os, & Tor E. W.ion+CONTENTSIntroduction Svend Nielsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Previous Scientic Investigations Jan Holme Andersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Technical Investigations Work in Progress Erling Benner Larsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Thickness of the Silver Parts Arne Jouttijrvi & Jan Holme Andersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Metallurgical Examinations Arne Jouttijrvi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Lead Isotope Analyses Joel A. Baker & Tod E. Waight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Lead Isotope Provenance Studies Zoa Anna Stos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29The Eyes of the Faces Stefan Rhrs, Heike Stege & Katharina Mller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40Flow of Raw Materials Jan Holme Andersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42Investigation of the Iron Ring from the Rim Arne Jouttijrvi & Helge Brinch Madsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45Analyses of the Black Substance Jens Glastrup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46The Accelerator Dating Pieter M. Grootes, Marie-Jose e Nadeau & Matthias Hls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Bog Geological Investigations in Rvemosen 2002 Charlie Christensen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50Concluding Remarks Svend Nielsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54INTRODUCTIONAmong the objects exhibited at the Danish NationalMuseum in Copenhagen the Gundestrup cauldronhas kept its outstanding position since it was foundmore than a century ago. This no doubt has to dowith the fact that we are facing ancient imagery notmet elsewhere. Moreover, the cauldron is entangledin questions, which have so far not been answered.Accordingly, the literature dealing with the Gun-destrup cauldron is impressive and steadily increasing.Among Danish scholars who have dealt with theGundestrup cauldron, all of them several times,should be mentioned S. Mller, O. Klindt-Jensen andH. Norling-Christensen (Mller 1933; Klindt-Jensen1950; Norling-Christensen 1966), and E. Benner Lar-sen, who focused on the exiting history of the nd(Larsen 1995). F. Kaul attempted to identify and datevarious attributes (Kaul 1995). He is also a strong ad-vocate of the Thracian link, even suggesting histori-cal contexts of manufacture. Among foreign scholarswho dealt with the Gundestrup cauldron within thelast generation, or so, could be mentioned R. Pittioni2 Acta Archaeologicaand not least the important and thorough work by R.Hachmann, not to forget the recent and inventivestudy by F. Falkenstein (Pittioni 1984; Hachmann1990; Falkenstein 2004). In addition, a good manyshorter papers are to consider.Yet, even when dealing with this wealth of litera-ture, it soon becomes evident that there are still manytopics that have not been studied, primarily due tolacking investigations. In particular, I refer to up-to-date scientic and technical research, whereas com-mon topics such as iconography, religion, origin anddating have been dealt with over and over again inthe literature with highly divergent results. Today,it is possible, thanks to employment of a variety ofadvanced scientic methods, to illuminate many tech-nical questions. In a modern archaeological hand-book the possibilities presented are almost legion.Certain comparative data, in particular when com-piled over decades, constitute a most important eldof research. Thus, lead isotope analyses tell about thegeographical origins of metals, such as the silver andtin used to make the Gundestrup cauldron. Likewise,X-ray detecting techniques inform about the age andtype of the glass inlays used as eyes on the faces ofthe outer plates. Furthermore, it is possible to identifythe small amounts of apparently organic material,which is seen on the backsides of some of the plates,for instance, by employment of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Such identication has provedsuccessful, and the material is suitable for acceleratordating, when available in sufcient amount.Also to be considered are the very small remainingquantities of soil on the backside of some of the plates.Is this soil foreign, or deriving from the RvemoseBog where the cauldron was once found? Possibly,pollen analyses or other kinds of investigations mayhelp to answer such and other questions. The pre-served section of the iron ring inside the silver rim ofthe cauldron should also be considered; this smallpiece of iron has almost been ignored or simply for-gotten in the discussion. Would it be possible toundertake an accelerator dating of the small carbonresidues of this piece of iron, maybe even to settlewhat kind of iron one is dealing with and thus illumi-nate its origin?To the abovementioned investigations should beadded various kinds of metallurgical ones, such asScanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and not leastinquiries about how the Gundestrup cauldron wasproduced departing from a technical angle. In short,many topics cry out for consideration. Indeed the pos-sibilities of employing such methods, as well as others,which might turn up during a future phase of re-search, were eagerly discussed for years among ErlingBenner Larsen, Helge Brinch Madsen, and the pres-ent author.Right from the beginning our position was clear:not until much more was known about the Gunde-strup cauldron itself and its material aspects, so to say,would it be sensible to consider such intricate pointsas age, origin(s) and cultural setting(s) of this uniqueartefact. In our opinion, Danish scholars ought to in-itiate such labour simply for practical reasons; but atthe same time we were well aware that expertise fromabroad would be needed, too.Thanks to generous economic support from theVelux Foundation and a very positive attitude fromthe National Museum it became possible to undertakethe desired investigations of the Gundestrup cauldronin 2002. These were carried out in a co-operationbetween The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts,School of Conservation, and the National Museum.For around half of this year the cauldron was re-moved from the exhibition and substituted by one ofthe existing excellent replicas. The original wasbrought to the Department of Conservation at theNational Museum, where a very thorough technicalinvestigation could take place,