The “Golden Hat” of Schifferstadt


High conical gold foil vessels, four of which have been found so far, count among the most important religious monuments of the old European Bronze Age.

The “Golden Hat” of Schifferstadt, which was found on 29th April in 1835 in a field belonging to the district of Schifferstadt, is the oldest one. Three bronze axes that were found with the “Golden Hat” date back to the 14th century BC.

That “Hat” (vessel) is 29,6cm high, it weights 350,5g and it is seamlessly beaten out of a small gold ingot. The thickness of its sides is 0,20- 0,25mm. The original is exposed in the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer.

The conical gold foil vessels were used for religious ceremonies. Their existence is confined to the heartland of early Celtic tribes in the centre of France and the south of Germany.

According to recent investigations the ornaments represent a complex calendrical system. The golden cones were probably a symbol of the knowledge of their bearers – intellectual priests – about the order upholding the cosmos, the earth and time.

They were likely to express the fact that these personalities were allies of the gods because of their knowledge and that they were able to guarantee the maintenance of the order on which depended the seasons and the lives of the people and the animals.