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Journal Article

The dynamics of Early Celtic consumption practices: a case study of the pottery from the Heuneburg


Mötsch,  Angela
MHAAM, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Rageot, M., Mötsch, A., Schorer, B., Gutekunst, A., Patrizi, G., Zerrer, M., et al. (2019). The dynamics of Early Celtic consumption practices: a case study of the pottery from the Heuneburg. PLoS One, 14(10), 1-29. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222991.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-F187-3
The Early Celtic site of the Heuneburg (Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany) has long been understood as a hallmark of early urbanization in Central Europe. The rich collection of Mediterranean imports recovered from the settlement, the elite burials in its surroundings and the Mediterranean-inspired mudbrick fortification wall further point to the importance of intercultural connections with the Mediterranean as a crucial factor in the transformation of Early Iron Age societies. We describe a new facet of this process by studying the transformation of consumption practices, especially drinking habits, brought about by intercultural encounters from the late 7th to the 5th century BC through the analysis of organic remains in 133 ceramic vessels found at the Heuneburg using Organic Residue Analysis (ORA). During the Ha D1 phase, fermented beverages, including Mediterranean grape wine, were identified in and appear to have been consumed from local handmade ceramics. The latter were recovered from different status-related contexts within the Heuneburg, suggesting an early and well-established trade/exchange system of this Mediterranean product. This contrasts with the results obtained for the drinking and serving vessels from the Ha D3 phase that were studied. The consumption of fermented beverages (wine and especially bacteriofermented products) appears to have been concentrated on the plateau. The ORA analyses presented here seem to indicate that during this time, grape wine was consumed primarily from imported vessels, and more rarely from local prestigious fine wheel-made vessels. In addition to imported wine, we demonstrate the consumption of a wide variety of foodstuffs, such as animal fats (especially dairy products), millet, plant oils and waxy plants, fruit and beehive products as well as one or several other fermented beverage(s) that were probably locally produced. Through this diachronic study of vessel function from different intra-site contexts, we inform on changing and status-related practices of food processing and consumption.