A Twisted Hoard


September/October 2021

SO21 Digs Germany Hoard REVISEDA metal detectorist investigating the area around the ancient hillfort of Wilzenberg in western Germany happened upon one of the largest hoards of Iron Age metal objects ever found in the region. The collection is made up of more than 100 weapons and other pieces of military equipment dating to between the third and first centuries B.C. It includes spearheads, swords, shield fragments, belt hooks, and parts of horse harnesses. One particularly rare object is a special bridle that was used on chariot horses and allowed the driver to control the vehicle more precisely.


Many of the swords were deliberately curled and bent, while some spear and lance tips were blunted and deformed. Researchers believe that the weapons were taken by local warriors from enemy combatants on the battlefield and brought back to the Wilzenberg hillfort as trophies. They were then deliberately rendered unusable in a symbolic act of triumph—a common ritual in Iron Age Celtic Europe.