National Geographic : 1977 May
Treasure from a Danish peat bog, the silver caldron of Gundestrup (below) shines as one of the most striking and widely studied of Celtic relics. Scholars trace its origin to eastern Europe in the second century B.C. and believe it may have come to Denmark as war booty. The 27-inch-wide bowl, buried in pieces as a votive offering, was not unearthed until 1891. The outside plates feature a gallery of deity heads, such as a fertility goddess and her attendants (pages 582-3). Inside is a pageant of cult scenes. The Celtic horned god, Cernunnos, dominates one plate (above, in a Danish museum replica) as he holds court among his wild charges. Scholars disagree on the meaning of the procession (right). Some suggest that amid fanfare a slain warrior is being submerged in a life-restoring caldron.