Ritualizing Helmets – Symbolic Protocol of the Iron Age in Dolenjska

  • Martina Blečić Kavur University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities, Koper
Keywords:
Novo Mesto, Iron Age, Illyrian helmets, ritual, ritualization

Abstract

The ritualization of helmets, along with fragmentation and hybridization, is a well-known fact in the wider area of South-Eastern Europe. It is apparent on the numerous examples of the helmets of the Illyrian type, interpreted in various contexts, for various purposes and in different ways. In the territory of Dolenjska (Slovenia), two Illyrian helmets of the type III A found in the grave VII/19 at Kapiteljska njiva in Novo Mesto present an exception. This is an exclusive double interment of the Eastern Alps region, both concerning its size and funerary construction, and the offerings consisting of warrior’s and equestrian equipment, ornaments and personal items, along with a set of bronze vessels and the first example of helmets of the Illyrian type among the communities of the Late Hallstatt circle in Dolenjska. The context of the grave may be dated into the second half of the 5th century and the beginning of the 4th century BC. The very choice of luxurious objects points to the state of the deceased and their immediate surrounding, ascribing to themselves the power (military, political, economic, ideological) through the practice of massive destruction during funerals. Such ritualization, deliberate destruction or damaging of objects became the ritual practice. As the “sacrifices” of an unique ritual protocol, the deliberate and violent ritualizations became a medium, and the symbolic manipulation of “cultural” proofs was a reflection of social dimensions of the living, i.e. precisely the communities of the Dolenjska Hallstatt society at its eastern frontiers.  

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Published
2018-10-31