Scordisci Swords From Northwestern Bulgaria

Of the later Celtic material from Thrace, most remarkable is a dense concentration of La Têne C/D swords recorded over the last 100 years between the Timok and Iskar rivers in today’s northwestern Bulgaria (Popov 1922, 1924; Mikov 1932/33, 1933; Velkov 1957; Milchev 1958; Nikolov 1965, 1981, 1990, 1993; Alexandrov 1975, 1983; Wozniak 1975; Werner 1977; Petrov 1978; Tacheva-Hitova 1978; Domaradski 1984; Torbov 2000 with cited lit.; see also Paunov 2012). By the end of the 20th century over 60 such swords had been registered in this area of northwestern Bulgaria alone – the largest concentration of such Celtic material in Europe. From the La Têne C1 period examples include those from Popitza or Dobrolevo, which are typologically identical to Celtic swords found in northeastern Bulgaria at sites such as Dolez, Isperich, Lesicheri and Kazanlak / Seuthopolis, while examples from the LT C2 period from northwestern Bulgaria, such as those from Koynare or Enitza, are identical to examples from Scordisci territory in neighboring Serbia, and fall into the Belgrad 2 / Mokronog 2-4 category of Celtic swords (Torbov 2000). However, it is from the La Têne D period (late 2nd / 1st c. BC) that the majority of these swords date. This coincides chronologically with the period of the Scordisci Wars between the Thracian Celts and Rome, and represents further evidence of the militarization of Balkan society during this troubled period.

Material from the Scordisci Warrior Burial at Montana (n.w. Bulgaria) (RGZM – Inv. # 0.42301/01-08)

1 #79. or Mezdra (all Vratza reg. Also found in the burial was a short curved sword – machaira – examples of which have also been found in Celtic burials in Serbia (Todorović op cit. Sofrienovo. Mizia. Kruschovitza. Komarevo. Osen. The decoration includes the split palmettes and circular tendrils and has parallels in Celtic scabbards from Slovenia. Ostrov. Scordisci Sword Scabbard from Kopanata Tumulus (Pavolche) Vratza reg. Dobrusha. and at Kamburovo (Targovischte region) in northern Bulgaria (Wozniak 1974. Examples of such in northwestern Bulgaria include those discovered at sites such as Kriva Bara. Croatia and Transdanubia (Todorović 1968. examples from the La Têne D period are again identical to Scordisci swords found in neighboring Serbia. Szabό. in this case falling into the Belgrad 3/Mokronog 5-6 category of Celtic swords (Torbov op cit). after Megaw 2004) The scabbard is decorated in the Hungarian Sword Style (Megaw 2004:100) which is a product of the eastern Celtic expansion (Szabό. Skut and Vit rivers in northwestern Bulgaria. Varbeschnitza. (Detail. Bistrilitza. Galatin. Megaw op cit). or Altimir. Galiche.As with the aforementioned LT C2 swords. Tarnava. Stubel. Domaradski 1984. The concentration of finds of Celtic iron swords (and other material of La Tène D type) is most intense along the valleys of the Ogosta. Montana (all Montana region). . obr. where a high density of Celtic coin hoards is also to be observed (Paunov 2012). Petres 1992: cat # 37/41. Chiren. Krivodol. Zotović 2007).). 35). indicating multiple burials (loc cit). Petres 1992). App. At the latter site 4 Celtic swords of this type were registered.

have been discovered. not by archaeologists.Distribution of Celtic Weapons in N. It is also remarkable that in no case have archaeological excavations been subsequently conducted in the areas where this Celtic material was discovered.e. but by local ‘treasure hunters’ i.W. . Bulgaria (after Paunov 2012) ACCIDENTAL ARCHAEOLOGY It should be noted that these swords. the 60+ Celtic swords from this small area of northwestern Bulgaria between the Timok and Iskar rivers have simply ‘appeared’ in the local museums (Torbov 2000). as with the vast majority of Celtic material from Bulgaria.

The case of the Scordisci swords from northwestern Bulgaria also raises other fundamental questions.academia. If such a massive amount of Celtic . and other weapons. or in the hands of private individuals? On this phenomenon see also: https://www. have been discovered ‘accidentally’ by locals. how much more Celtic material from this and other areas of Bulgaria still lies unpublished in the vaults of the local museums.

146 BC – AD 98/117) Phd. хр. (1984) Келтите на Бaлканския полуостров. – In: Hänsel B. Paunov E. Thesis. (1992) Decorated weapons of the La Têne Iron Age in the Carpathian Basin. Todorović J. 93-107. Beograd. Открити в Северозападна България. Rahden / Westf. Gedenkschrift für Viera Nemejcova-Pavukova. Neolithikum und ältere Bronzezeit. Dissertationes 7. Studenikova E. VI. пр. (2012) From Koine To Romanitas: The Numismatic Evidence For Roman Expansion And Settlement In Bulgaria In Antiquity (Moesia and Thrace. (eds.S. Praehist Hungariae 5. 28 – 2000 г..) Zwischen Karpaten und Ägäis. Mid II c. (2007) Social and Cultural Aspects of the burial ‘Krajčinovićiv’ -Slana Voda (South-West Serbia. 1. Petres E. Acta Septemcastrensis. Bratislava 1977: 367 – 401 Woźniak Z. 11-33 Werner J. p. (1977) Spatlatene schwerter norischer herkunft (B) Ausklang der laten Zivilisation und Anfange der germanischen Besiedelung im mittleren Donaugebiet. (1974) Wschodnie pogranicze kultury Latenskiej.Literature Cited Домарадски М.V.. Megaw J. Cardiff University. Archaeology and Religion. София. (2004) In the footsteps of Brennos? Further archaeological evidence for Celts in the Balkans. In: Известия на Музеите в Северозападна България. Inv. Mac Congail . т. BC). November 2012 Szabό M. Торбов Н. (1968) Kelti u jugoistočnoj Europi. Budapest.. (2000) Мечове от II-I в. ca. Wroclaw-Warszava-KrakowGdansk Zotović R. School of History.

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