With the sheer scarcity of genuine ancient Celtic artifacts on the market, this offering is a special opportunity to acquire a large and spectacular specimen of an iron socketed axe. Displaying superb preservation to its surface and complete state, this is the nicest example we have ever handled. Originally found in Germany, ancient Celtic iron rarely survives the elements and complete specimens are very rare. Laws in Europe have forbade any modern discoveries for several decades making the acquisition of these rare objects only possible from private collections that pre-date local restrictions, as this one has come from. This axe shows the finest surface preservation of the iron and even still possesses a sharp chopping edge, rare for its age. The socket end is complete and unbroken, as well. This style axe is well-known from the Celts of western Europe and was one of the later designs of an iron socketed axe of this culture.
Unlike most metal artifacts sold on the market that are untreated and uncleaned, our specimens our properly cleaned, inspected and conserved in our museum conservation lab prior to being offered for sale to our clients. If ancient metal is NOT treated and stabilized correctly, IT WILL CONTINUE TO DISINTEGRATE AND CORRODE, AND COULD EVENTUALLY FALL APART INTO PIECES.
Around 2000 B.C., barbarian Celtic tribes invaded Europe. They first inhabited regions across Eastern Europe now known as Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and the Balkans. During the Bronze Age, they move westward and by the Iron Age in the 8th to 5th centuries BC, these tribes make their homes in what is now southwest Germany, eastern France and parts of Switzerland and Austria. This era is known as the Hallstatt period named after a Celtic archaeological type-site in a lakeside village in Austria. After that, in the La Tene period, western Europe becomes heavily occupied by the Celts as they invade much of Germany, France, the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), the British Islands and Ireland. After this time, Celtic tribes spread eastward again, moving into northern Italy, Bohemia, Silesia, the Balkans and even into present day Turkey with a tribe called the Galatians establishing a Celtic city called Galatia. During the 1st century BC, the Celts were at the height of their power and were the dominant ethnic group in much of Europe, even ruling over the Germanic tribes. Among the many military victories the ancient Celts can lay claim to are the sacking of the cities of Rome and Delphi.
The Celts were largely a decentralized military aristocracy made up of independent chieftains ruling various geographical regions. They were famous to fight just for the sake of fighting and often, they were employed as mercenaries of the great armies of ancient times. Along with their reputations of chivalry, courage and maniacal bravery, their more aggressive tendencies were offset by a great sensitivity to the arts and philosophy. Highly unusual at the time, the Celts viewed both men AND women with equality, holding women in high regard with their matriarchal religion.
One of the famous works the Celts were known for was their masterful works in metal-smithing. Spectacular works can be found all over Europe left behind by Celtic masters in gold, silver, bronze and later, in iron. Much of the influence of Bronze Age European metal ornament lends itself to the influence Celtic master craftspeople.