The Vix Treasure

Posted on Jun 06, 2010 in category

Sometimes things pile up and this morning life on the road caught up with us; in short, we slept in. However, revitalised by a generous breakfast of French bread rolls, raspberry conserve and several types of croissants, we reeved up the Citroen C5 again. This time we had to peddle harder to ‘rendez-vous’ with the Director of Chatillon-sur-Seine’s new museum, Jean-Louis Courdot.

Jean-Louis is a gentleman of the first order. He generously escorted us throughout the museum giving us a quick, cheerful overview of its layout (he had a deadline to keep that day elsewhere) along with pointing out the most significant exhibits on display. Jean-Louis also presented us with an informative book on the museum. We felt very privileged to be given permission to take photos for the students of NSW schools. Another pleasant thing about this beautifully presented museum was the friendly and knowledgeable staff. Like Bibracte, good leadership and a superb working environment definitely promote quality relationships.
This museum is famous for the Vix Treasure. Discovered in a farmer’s paddock in 1953 at the foot of Mont Lassois, the Vix ‘princess’ (her gender and political role are disputed by a few scholars) takes pride of place here on the first floor with a viewing window on the next floor too. The display goes well beyond the Vix ‘princess’. It places the tomb and its contents into the 1st Iron Age or Halstatt period (700-400 B.C.). Exhibits are plentiful here from many Halstatt sites in France and Europe.

The famous bronze krater of Vix is mindboggling. It is a masterpiece in bronzesmithing created by Greeks in southern Italy (a colony of Sparta?) and the size and quality of its decoration defy belief.




The Vix krater ‘strainer’ that fitted neatly into the top. The goddess sat in the middle.


A tomb reconstruction of the ‘princess of Vix’ using copies. The wagon is one of several possible designs that could have been built from the remaining metal fixtures. Note the position of ‘her’ jewellery in the waggon. No weapons were found in this grave. Seven other tumulus graves or underground tombs were found in close proximity to her at Mont Lassois.
An exhibition comparing the Gallo-Roman towns or ‘vici’ of Alesia and Vertillum (Vertault) was amazing too. Religious and economic life were particularly highlighted. Representations of Mercury, Epona, Apollo and Cybele to mention only a few were superbly displayed.

Epona, a Celtic horse goddess, found at Alesia.

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