Inštitut za arheologijo  ZRC SAZU


Dragan BOŽIČ:

A bronze jug from a grave with a chariot Verna (Isère): a three piece jigsaw puzzle
(L'aiguière en bronze de la tombe à char de Verna (Isère): une composition tripartite)


In 1818 in a tumulus lying to the south-west of the oppidum of Larina, not far from Lyon, one of the richest Late La Tène graves ever found was excavated by the Count of Verna. The grave inventory belonged to the Verna private collection until 1995 when it was purchased by Hières-sur-Amby Maison du Patrimoine. It remained unpublished until 2002, when it was presented by Franck Perrin and Martin Schönfelder in the catalogue of the exibition on the Allobroges. In 2003 the same authors edited an excellent publication of the grave. It contained, among other things, the remains of a four-wheel-chariot, weapons (a bronze casket, iron swords, spearheads and shield-bosses) and an extremely large set of Late Republican bronze vessels. The grave was assigned to the phase La Tène D1b and dated between 100 and 80 BC.

Quite unusual for the period of discovery is the detailed documentation, prepared in 1818 by the director of the Museum of Lyon, François Artaud, and consisting of a report, several plates with drawings and a list of subscriptions. One of the drawings on plate 3 represents a bronze jug with handle and cover.

According to the author, the jug has all the characteristics of Ornavasso-type jugs. However, the handle on the drawing does not have the form of either of two types of handles that make it possible to subdivide Ornavasso-type jugs into subtypes Ruvo and Montefiascone. Obviously the original handle was not found by the excavator, but was replaced on the drawing by a handle of an Idrija type beaker, also belonging to the inventory.

The supposed cover consists of a round disk and an attachment with three protuberances, fastened onto the disk by bronze rivets with red enamel decoration. It can be compared with a very similar object, appearing on Artaud's plate 1, which still had its attachment, now lost, and several other badly preserved objects of the same form, only briefly mentioned by Artaud. They all belong to a small, but very typical, group of Late La Tène harness pendants.

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