Earrings and Fibula

  • Era/Century: Prehistory
  • Culture: Early Iron Age
  • Site: Karaburma
  • Dating: late 4th, early 3rd century B.C.
  • Material: silver, bronze
  • Technique: casting, spiral-fluting
  • Dimensions: fibula 4,8 cm; pendants: length 6-17 cm
  • Diameter: earrings 2,8 и 3 cm
  • ID Number: AP 3281-3284
  • Property: Belgrade City Museum
  • On Display: No

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Archaeological excavations at Karaburma have brought to light remains of prehistorical cultures dating from the late Eneolithic to the beginning of the Christian era. The most important of the discoveries was a late Iron Age cemetery which had been in continuous use from the 3rd to the 1st century B.C. This chronological span embraces in fact the entire independent life of the tribal community of the Scordisci from the historical date of its foundation (279 B.C.) to the coming of the Romans.

Outstanding among the finds from the time of the earliest Celtic presence in the Balkans is this jewelry found in the grave of a woman. Apart from providing a precise chronological clue for the arrival of the Celts in the Balkans, these objects give us an insight into the structure of the newly formed community. The set consists of a pair of earrings made of torded silver wire, with one end fashioned in the form of a ring, and a bronze fibula, to which four small chains are appended. As an analysis of these finds has shown, they belong to two cultural spheres. The earrings are of local origin and represent the latest variant of a type common in the Balkans and southern Pannonia in the 6th-4th centuries B.C. Several graves with female burials from the early La Tène period, in which similar earrings were found, show that they were a part of the female costume less susceptible to foreign influences or changes of fashion. On the other hand, the fibula represents the earliest kind of Celtic objects of adornment in the northern and western Balkans, and its occurrence is associated with the arrival of the Celts in this territory. Seen from this point of view, the jewelry from Karaburma shows that two ethnic communities, Daco-Mycaenean and Celtic, were present in the Danubian region in the late 4th century B.C. Together with some brief references in the works of classical historians, this and similar finds show that a fusion between the Celtic newcomers and the native populations took place at the beginning of the formation of the early Iron Age culture in the Balkans. This ethnic amalgamation brought about cultural changes reflected in the new material culture, which differs from the preceding one in almost all respects.

Published in Prehistory


Miloš Spasić
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