Together with the state archaeologist Prof Dr Franz Schopper, the numismatist Marjanko Pilekic and the finder and volunteer archaeologist Wolfgang Herkt, the Minister for Culture Dr Manja Schüle presented the largest hoard of Celtic gold coins found in the state of Brandenburg on 13 December 2021 in Potsdam.
The Minister of Culture Dr Manja Schüle: “A Celtic gold hoard has never been found in Brandenburg before. The 41 discovered gold coins are a sensation, an invaluable source of information and they offer a unique glimpse into our past. It was a volunteer archaeologist specialized in ground monuments who literally uncovered this important piece of state history. These professionals are important for understanding the past, which is precisely why they can tell us so much about the future. Overall there are more than 50,000 archaeological sites and about 12,000 ground monuments in the state. They are an essential part of our cultural history, our identity, our tradition. Since 1992, the state has also honoured the exemplary effort of archaeologists with the Brandenburg prize for heritage protection. Additional positions at the state office for Heritage Management and the Archaeological State Museum highlight our support. This find shows once more that there are important historical traces in the state of Brandenburg. And that archaeologists of the Heritage Management and the Archaeological State Museum – whether they are volunteers or employees – keep our historical and cultural heritage safe.”
Prof Dr Franz Schopper, director and state archaeologist: “The hoard of Celtic gold coins highlights once again the importance and the success of the collaboration of state archaeologists with trained volunteer archaeologists, who support our work with great personal commitment.”
The numismatist Marjanko Pilekic, who scholarly reviews the hoard, added: “Not only is this the second largest hoard of smooth rainbow cups of this type ever found and by far the largest hoard of Celtic coins in Brandenburg, the location of the hoard is also far away from the Celtic settlement areas. Therefore there are some challenges regarding the interpretation of this hoard.”
Wolfang Herkt, volunteer archaeologist: “This is an exceptional find that you probably only make once in a lifetime. It is a good feeling to be able to contribute to the study of state history with such a find.”
The 41 gold coins were found near the village of Baizu in the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark. They are of Celtic origin. The particularity: the Celts never lived in Brandenburg, and the 41 gold coins are well over 2,000 years old. The discovery sheds light on the far-reaching networks of early Europe. The Celts were an ethnic group of the Iron Age. The coins are mainly made of gold and silver as well as some copper. Currently, a display of the coins is being prepared in the Archaeological State Museum of Brandenburg. The find was located within a settlement of the early Germanic Jastorf culture. The find indicates that this culture was of supra-regional importance and had a long-distance network.
The finder of the gold coins is a volunteer archaeologist of the Brandenburg State Office for Heritage Management and the Archaeological State Museum (BLDAM). These private individuals, as well as many associations, contribute significantly to the recording, preservation and promotion of archaeological heritage. All officially appointed volunteer archaeologists are graduates of a course organized by the BLDAM in close cooperation with the Archaeological Society of Berlin and Brandenburg. Since 2019, there has been a steady increase in the number of positions at the BLDAM. In 2022, two additional positions will be filled. One of these positions is explicitly designed to support volunteer archaeologists. In 2020, three volunteer archaeologists were awarded the Brandenburg prize for heritage protection.
The Brandenburg State Office for Heritage Management and the Archaeological State Museum are responsible for reviewing the hoard.
In 2015, another volunteer discovered the largest silver hoard of Brandenburg.
By the way, the engraver Huster dedicated a medal to these legendary coins.