Revealing History’s Enigma: Iron-Nailed Skull of a Young Ancient Warrior

The skull of a male aged 40 to 50 which is pierced obliquely by an iron nail which was used to hold the head and attach it to a wall or another structure. This ritual was a relatively common practice among the Gallic peoples of the Mediterranean and the Iberian tribes in the northern part of what is today Catalonia.

After combat, they would cut off their vanquished enemies’ heads and carry them back to their homes, where they displayed the skulls along with their weapons on the facades, porches or courtyards as war trophies.

We’re in the Iberian town of Ullastret, located in the Baix Emporda region of Catalonia, home to the largest Iberian settlement in Catalonia dating to around 550 BC.

Here, in the Iron Age, the heads of defeated enemies would be prepared and publically displayed alongside seized weapons.

This ritual custom reaffirmed the powers of the leaders. It was common in Celtic cultures that head trophies were hung from the backs of horses or displayed in front of houses of victorious warriors.

The inhabitants of Ullastret were the Indiketes, an ancient Iberian people who spoke the Iberian language.

Museu Arqueològic d’Ullastret. Arqueologia. Inauguració de l’exposició sobre els Caps tallats (cranis). Intervindrà el conceller de Cultura Ferran Mascarell i Joan Pluma

In 218 BC they were conquered by Rome during the Roman conquest of Hispania. They rebelled in 195 BC only to be crushed by the consul Marcus Porcious Cato.

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