Jocelyne LeBlanc January 18, 2022
A rare and ancient collection of curved Celtic gold coins has been unearthed in Brandenburg, Germany, by a volunteer archaeologist named Wolfgang Herkt from the Brandenburg State Heritage Management and Archaeological State Museum (BLDAM).
While searching a local farm, Herkt found the first Celtic gold coin. He then found ten more, and that’s when he reported his findings to the BLDAM who sent additional archaeologists to the site where a total of 41 gold coins were unearthed whose “value must have been immense”.
Of the 41 coins that were found, 19 of them are called staters which have a diameter of 0.7 inches (1.8 centimeters) and weigh an average of 0.2 ounces (5.7 grams). The other 22 coins are ¼ staters with a diameter of 0.5 inches (1.3 centimeters) and weigh an average of 0.06 ounces (1.7 grams). All of the coins are “plain”, meaning that they have no images on them.
The curved coins are named “regenbogenschüsselchen” which translates to “rainbow cups”. In an email to Live Science, Marjanko Pilekić, who is a numismatist and research assistant at the Coin Cabinet of the Schloss Friedenstein Gotha Foundation in Germany and who studied the coins, stated that “in popular belief, rainbow cups were found where a rainbow touched the Earth.”
He went on to say that they “fell directly from the sky and were considered lucky charms and objects with a healing effect.” The rain probably helped to clean off the dirty coins and that’s when the ancient humans found them, ultimately starting the legend.
According to Manja Schüle, who is the Minister of Culture in Brandenburg, the coins are the first known Celtic gold treasure that has been found in Brandenburg and the second largest hoard of “plain” rainbow cups ever found.
According to Schüle, the coins date back over 2,000 years – sometime between 125 BC and 30 BC during the late part of the Iron Age. Interestingly, the majority of the Celtic archaeological culture named La Tène (between approximately 450 BC to the 1st century BC) were situated in England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and the southern part of Germany.
While the Celts didn’t occupy Brandenburg, there were “…large numbers of rainbow cups of this kind,” Pilekić noted. This indicates that there were significant trade networks going on in Europe during the Iron Age. “It is rare to find gold in Brandenburg, but no one would have expected it to be ‘Celtic’ gold of all things.” “This find extends the distribution area of these coin types once again, and we will try to find out what this might tell us that we did not yet know or thought we knew.”
Pictures of the coins can be seen here 2,000-year-old Celtic hoard of gold ‘rainbow cups’ discovered in Germany.
2,000-year-old Celtic hoard of gold ‘rainbow cups’ discovered in Germany
The ancient hoard’s “value must have been immense.”