New Article

Celtic consumption practices

Chemical analyses of ceramics from Vix-Mont Lassois

New insights into Early Celtic consumption practices: Organic residue analyses of local and imported pottery from Vix-Mont Lassois


The rich Mediterranean imports found in Early Celtic princely sites (7th-5th cent. BC) in Southwestern Germany, Switzerland and Eastern France have long been the focus of archaeological and public interest. Consumption practices, particularly in the context of feasting, played a major role in Early Celtic life and imported ceramic vessels have consequently been interpreted as an attempt by the elite to imitate Mediterranean wine feasting. Here we present the first scientific study carried out to elucidate the use of Mediterranean imports in Early Celtic Central Europe and their local ceramic counterparts through organic residue analyses of 99 vessels from Vix-Mont Lassois, a key Early Celtic site. In the Mediterranean imports we identified imported plant oils and grape wine, and evidence points towards appropriation of these foreign vessels. Both Greek and local wares served for drinking grape wine and other plant-based fermented beverage(s). A wide variety of animal and plant by-products (e.g. fats, oils, waxes, resin) were also identified. Using an integrative approach, we show the importance of beehive products, millet and bacteriohopanoid beverage(s) in Early Celtic drinking practices. We highlight activities related to biomaterial transformation and show intra-site and status-related differences in consumption practices and/or beverage processing.