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For Hamish Douglas Burgess' own traditional and modern Celtic artwork please visit our Gallery page. Friday May 8th & Tuesday May 12th - for the first time in Lahaina town, West Maui, you could see The Celtic Art of Hamish Burgess at the Grand Opening of the Mick Fleetwood Art Gallery at Fleetwood's General Store below the Fleetwood's on Front St.
There was an artist's reception Saturday April 19th from 6-8pm with a Celtic Music Session - with special guest Irish singer Michael Black - the craic was mighty ! For Hamish Burgess' own traditional and modern Celtic artwork please visit our Gallery page.
Tuesday July 3rd-17th 2012 - our Maui Celtic duo Hamish & Jennifer were in Switzerland, to find Jennifer's family on her dad's side, and to look at the ancient Celtic culture at La Tène in western Switzerland !
The area was pre-historically settled in 13,000 BC, a Neolithic village with stilt-houses in 3571 BC, followed by early iron-age Hallstatt evidence, then a hub of the later iron-age La Tène culture which flourished from 450 BC to Roman conquest in the 1st century AD.
The tourist office sent them out to stay in the nearby village of Le Landeron, by the end of Lake Biel at a guest house in the Old Town run by Jean-Louis Quellet. After a coffee at the cafe, with it's terrace overlooking the park, they were shown around the 'Les Celtes de La Tène' gallery, the main Celtic floor of the museum by Curator Denis Ramseyer. There were photo albums of the original archaeological digs at the site of the ancient lakeside settlement at La Tène, and archaic wickerwork baskets, clothing, fibulae or brooches, glass bracelets, ceramics and household objects, as well as ceremonial vessels and Celtic coins, and even parts of ancient Carnyx trumpets.
The sword hilts were in fabulous condition, most with curling spirals forming the pommel, but one outstanding example of an anthromorphic figure, his legs forming the hand guard and raised arms forming the pommel.
Fantastically stylized animals featured on many objects, especially coins, and sword scabbards. In the water-themed gallery is the Bevaix Boat, a Gallo-Roman ship found in the Bay of Bevaix, Lake Neuchâtel, in 1970. Another gallery, of the Middle Ages, had a collection of buckles from a local 7th century cemetery of the Merovingian culture, with Celtic knotwork not unlike that seen at the same time in Pictish, Irish and Briton art. Stepping back in time 'Les Lacustres' or 'Lake Dwellers' gallery is home to a fine Neolithic to Bronze Age collection, with ancient woven baskets, clothing, pottery, a solid wooden chariot wheel, and bronze casting moulds and artifacts. The galleries also have interesting reconstructed faces of local lakeside dwellers through the ages, and early artifacts including a Mesolithic 15th century BC flute made from mutton bone, and a Neolithic 3500 BC arrowhead made of clear rock crystal. A new exhibition 'Chantier Autorisé' showed hands-on exhibits of the archaeological work and findings. Our Maui Celtic couple headed outside to the park, which shows landscapes, sites, monuments and dwellings that succeeded one another at this place over 15,000 years. Next they looked at a great re-construction of a late Bronze Age house with a raised floor to safeguard against flooding, frequent here 3000 years ago. A platform allows a look at the interior of the house, with replica tools and household objects. Nearby is a copy of a middle Bronze Age barrow mound, or burial chamber, dating from 1400 BC and found locally in 1937.
A boat slip houses the re-contrstruction of the Gallo-Roman lighter the Bevaix Boat, with a modern research vessel berthed there also, with the shore lined with Erratic boulders of Alpine or Jurassic rock, once carried long distances by glaciers.
There is a re-constructed Celtic bridge to cross, with the design taken from the remains of a much larger bridge in the area. Finally there is a small Roman garden, representing a new era in the area, not to mention a kids' playground with mammoth-shaped slides and a Celtic house. The Laténium has an amazing collection of Celtic and pre-historic artifacts, and is a fantastic resource for adults and children. Many thanks to the Latenium staff and Curator Denis Ramseyer for a great day and more leads ! All the above photos © Hamish Burgess and Jennifer Fahrni, except the top aerial shot credited.
With only a campsite shop and a restaurant, and grassy plots for trailer-homes, motor-homes and tents, the bayside area is fabulously unspoilt. After a walk along the bay-shore, Hamish felt moved enough to jump into the hazy blue waters of La Tène for an energizing swim to celebrate finding the roots of the ancient culture ! Then again following the museum curator's advice they drove around the end of the lake and to the top of Mont Vully, to find the old fortress of the powerful Helvetii Celtic tribe, who once inhabited most of the Swiss Plateau. After an amazing time in beautiful Switzerland, our Maui Celtic duo Hamish & Jennifer drove through southern Germany and arrived in Austria, with a mission to find the very early Celtic culture of Hallein and Hallstatt.
Hamish was stoked to be driving through the scenic Tyrolean Mountains, which he had often thought of while playing the famous bagpipe tune 'The Green Hills of Tyrol' or the folk song of the same melody 'The Scottish Soldier'. Coming from the north they arrived first at the ancient town of Hallein, which instantly impressed Hamish with the words Kelten Hallein on the roundabout, topped with a huge sculpture of an ancient Celtic artifact that was found locally (see below). The mineral salt has had a huge influence in human history, and is vital to our bodily functions, although it is now thought that too much salt is bad for us.
A helpful young lady in the Hallein tourist office, in full traditional dress, found our travellers a nice guest house Pension Sommerauer on the edge of town, but within walking distance of the old town center. The next day, after a great breakfast from pension hostess Christina, they drove up the mountain to Bad Dürrnberg on the plateau above Hallein, with the Salzach River valley down below, always in sight of the well-known landmark, the Barmsteine limestone rock pinnacles.
Although commercial salt mining ended here in 1989, the mine is maintained for historical tours by Salzwelten Hallein, and has been open to visitors as long ago as the 17th century.
In various chambers, the knowledgeable guide covered historical points in German, Italian and English, before showing a film with actors portraying the characters of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich (1559-1617) and his servant Jakobus. There are two sets of 42m (138 ft) wooden slides, the traditional way of getting quickly from one level of the mine to a lower one. There is a camera that takes your photo near the bottom of the slide, creating an often hilarious keepsake that you can buy at the exit.
Along the tour route our duo saw mine tunnels from all ages, with various displays of period lights, tools, and mining contraptions, as well as life size models of miners showing their ways of extracting the salt.
Early mining was done by hand, with the Celtic era miners chipping salt rock crystal from the rock as a solid, which they carried out of the mine in backpacks.
A later technique to improve efficiency was the use of leachcaves, the earliest known in 1268. Our duo thought it was a fascinating tour of an historic salt mine from ancient Celtic days, through it's medieval times, right up until the modern era. After emerging from the labyrinth of mine passages into the light, our Maui Celtic duo visited the nearby Celtic Village, with reconstructed buildings and objects found during excavations. The village used to be peopled with actors who would portray the ancient folk, each building showing a different aspect of the life of the Celts. One building houses informative story-boards and great illustrations on the Celts of the Dürrnberg, who settled there and mined the mountain from around the 6th century BC until the 1st century AD. At the centre of the village, carved poles overlook the Dürrnberg plateau, with a great view of the unusual Barmsteine limestone rock pinnacles, the well-known landmark of Hallein. At one time the Celts only worked the mountain during the cold season, as the vital circulation of air only functioned well in the winter ! After a good look around the village, our Maui Celtic duo went to the offices of the Salzwelten Hallein and met the helpful Margarethe Brandner and Stv. Many thanks to them for their hospitality, and help contacting folks for our couple's next visits to the Keltenmuseum Hallein, and the Saltzwelten Hallstatt. Salzwelten Hallein opening hours are daily from 9am-5pm, guided tours start regularly - ticket includes entrance fee and English guided tour through the saltmine, free entrance to the Celtic Village onsite (get an audioguide in English), and to the Keltenmuseum in Hallein.
Back down the mountain, the next stop was the Keltenmuseum Hallein, established in 1970, and housed in Hallein's largest secular building known as the Pfleg, on the banks of the Salzach River. In over 30 rooms, the museum showcases the history of the Celts of 2500 years ago, with a fantastic collection of artifacts from the mines and burial grounds of the Dürrnberg, as well as historical objects and paintings of the salt mining industry of Hallein and the rise to wealth and power of the Prince Archbishops of Salzburg. From the riverside glass atrium with the fine museum shop, the first gallery they were shown to featured a life size model of a charging ancient Celtic War Chariot and horses. The gallery showed the history of the Celts and their migration throughout Europe, and their confrontation with the Romans.
There was a collection of pre-historic and Celtic era salt-mining tools and surprisingly intact leather clothing, such as shoes and hats that had been well preserved in the salt, and a reconstructed section of a period mine. There were cases of wood, bronze and ceramic household items, some with detailed artwork of period scenes, or with abstract shaped patterns.
Actual size replicas of some of the brooches are available in the museum shop - Hamish couldn't resist the 'Widder', or double-headed beast, shown below. The Celts buried their male or female chiefs or royalty in chambers richly furnished with grave objects, ceremonial vessels, weapons, jewelry and even chariots.
One display case held a paticularly fine hoard from a 25-30 year old prince's chariot grave on the Moserstein, including a sword, spears, arrows, a conical helmet, and an unusual round bronze flagon on legs. The hoard also contained the metal decorations of another beaked flagon, a wooden vessel long since gone, but with the small but famous image of a bearded man, the 'Celtic Mask' which has become the symbol of the 'Salt-City Hallein'. By good fortune they saw a visiting exhibit, normally kept in the Salzburg Museum, although it was found here in a Dürrnberg burial.
The obviously wealthy grave burials lasted about three generations here on the Dürrnberg, from 450-350 BC, then the sites are more difficult to recognize as a 'princely' burial site. The second floor had galleries concerning Hallein's more recent town life and salt mining history, in the building from 1654 onwards, with 73 paintings by Benedict Werkstötter commisssioned in 1757, adorning the walls of the Green, Yellow, and Red Staterooms, where the visiting Prince-Archbishops would have held local court.
Hamish thought this was a truly remarkable collection of Celtic artifacts from the Celts of the Dürrnberg, and the salt mining industry of Hallein. All above photos © Hamish Burgess, except Saltzwelten slide and Schnabelkanne shots credited.
At the foot of the Plassen Mountain, part of the larger Dachstein, Hallstatt is a remote ancient lakeside settlement that prospered due to the world's earliest known salt mine. Hallstatt is an important archaeological site, and the village and region were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Our Maui Celtic duo arrived in Hallstatt late in the day, and managed to drive into the normally car-free village centre to look for a hotel. The next morning was rainy, so after breakfast it seemed a good time to make a two minute walk to the Museum Hallstatt, a privately run museum where they met Elisabeth Schwarz who arranged with Director Rudolf Gamsjäger for our duo to explore the building and photograph the artifacts. The first gallery displayed ancient mining tools, firebrand torches, fragments of clothing, kneepads and leather salt-mining backpacks, hats and shoes, in amazingly good condition, from between 14th-8th centuries BC. The incised patterns of Hallstatt era art are geometric, with ocasional stylized amimals, and much different to the curvilnear style of the later La Tene art.
The richest grave burial from the necropolis contained massive bronze situla, or urns, bronze buckets, vases, and bowls, also animal models, a ceremonial axehead, helmet, swords and knives, and needles, pendants, and medals.


Further galleries dealt with the Roman history of Hallstatt, the first contact being in the 2nd century BC, with their arrival to settle when they took over the kingdom of Noricum in 15 BC. After picking up both the books in English at the good museum shop, it was time to head outside. Hamish walked Jennifer to the guesthouse, and decided it may be his only chance to see the famous pre-historic necropolis of Hallstatt, so picked up an umbrella and headed up the mountain in the rain.
The crowds had raced off to the salt mine, leaving Hamish a quiet walk in the serene valley that is home to the burial grounds. Info-boards along the path tell the story of the early Iron Age cemetary, used from 800-400BC, and 'discovered' in 1846 by Johann Georg Ramsauer (1795–1874). The number of excavated graves reached 1500 by 2007, and there are estimated to be some 5000 people buried there, almost half of them cremated. There are no visible graves to see in the valley now, just a beautiful quiet place befitting one of the Old World's largest burial sites.
Further up the valley is a reconstructed hut with a sunken pit, which shows how the ancient folk ran a pre-historic meat industry. Around 330 BC a disastrous rock fall and massive mud-slide buried the eastern working mine and high-lying settlement, sparing only the valley necropolis, after which a newer mine and settlement was started further west.
There is an archaeology building up near the salt mine, housing a research and educational facility, open from July to September.
It was time for Hamish to tour the Saltzwelten Hallstatt, with it's thousands of years of continuous salt-mining tradition, quite a bit more crowded than the counterpart in Hallein. There were many more technical shows in the mine here, than were in Hallein, with almost every chamber having an innovative shaped screen showing a film. As in Hallein, early mining was done by hand, with the Hallstatt then Celtic era miners chipping salt rock crystal from the rock as a solid, which they carried out of the mine in backpacks.
A later technique to improve efficiency was leaching, first mentioned in historical documents in 1311 AD. There was a very good laser sound and light show in one of the leachcaves, illustrating the miners struggle since ancient times.
With most of the tourists gone now this late in the day, Hamish enjoyed the quiet pathway through the Halstatt burial grounds once more, this time without the umbrella.
Hamish hiked down the switchback path from the mountain, which turned out to be a lot longer than it looked on the wee map ! There was a local brass band in the village square that night, which brought out a lot of locals and tourists, then our Maui Celtic duo had a nice dinner at Gasthof Zauner, seen in the back corner of the photo below, before a walk through town. They went by the Brauhaus, and heard the sound of bagpipes coming out of the upstairs window ! After breakfast the next morning, with no rain our duo explored the medieval village and did a bit of shopping.
Due to the cemetery's small size there was not enough room for all Hallstatt residents to be buried there. As the rain came down again, our Maui Celtic duo were sorry to leave the incredible village of Hallstatt. HIS 'CELTIC CHARIOT' FEATURES ORIGINAL CELTIC DRAGONS ON THE SIDES, AND A KNOTWORK PANEL ON THE TAILGATE.
This original Watercolour piece by Hamish Burgess is a Celtic Tree of Life coming out of a traditional cauldron, with the seven creations of the ancient Celtic world - plants, humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects.
This original piece by Hamish Burgess was a commission for an Irish-Scots friend, customized to feature him and his wife, his dog and creatures seen in his garden in Keokea, Upcountry Maui.
Original commissioned works like this are available, customized to feature stylized likenesses of you and your loved ones, and pets or favorite animals.
This piece was first an original tattoo design, drawn by Hamish Burgess and applied on a friend who appreciates Celtic art, who then commissioned the above painting.
They arrived in the ancient town of Neuchâtel, and headed to the tourism office, where the staff were fantastic, and found our couple somewhere to stay at a busy time of year. 7th century Merovingian treasures have been found locally, then in 1011, Burgundian King Rudolph III presented a new castle on the lake shore to his wife Irmengarde, giving the town the name of Neuchâtel, which in 1214 was officially named a city. Hamish and Jennifer explored the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, with it's yellow sandstone buildings, and many squares and fountains. Our travelers were not expecting to be knocking on the door of a house from the 1500s, in a town that could be a medieval movie-set !
At the foot of the Jura Mountains, La Tène was a nearby lakeside settlement where many artifacts were found, dating from 500 BC to the 1st century AD. Showcasing 500 centuries of history, the museum displays items from the Paleolithic era (including the remains of a Magdalenian hunting camp) through the Celtic La Tène era, the Roman empire, and into medieval times.
He first took them to a large window overlooking the grounds and lake, and pointed out the site of the ancient La Tène settlement, where most of the artifacts were found, now behind a wooded point of land seen in the photo above (at left). There were cabinets of fantastically preserved Celtic weapons, including many spearheads, daggers, swords and scabbards. Several scabbards were inscribed with amazing early Celtic La Tène artwork, with swirling curvilinear shapes, an art form that spread all over Europe, becoming part of the ancient Irish and Britons' Celtic culture. The horse was a common motif, with horsemen and chariots being an important part of Celtic society and warfare.
It was used for shipping limestone from the Jura to the Roman colony of Aventicum (now Avenches) for their monuments. A princely collection of ten buckles shows the importance of this area, long after the La Tène era. It was part of a vast megalithic site with twelve standing stones in a long alignment, dating to the Middle Neolithic period, between 5th-4th millennia BC.
They saw a landscape from that long ago, represented by a moulding of a Cro-Magnon camp that was found nearby, with hearths, stone seats, bones and flint-working. They regularly tour school parties, and the kids are taught the ancient and Celtic history of Switzerland. If the ancient La Tène Celts were to see their old home today, from 2000, even nearly 3000 years later, they would thankfully recognize it ! The area has been settled for at least 4000 years, with folks attracted by the salt deposits above the town on the Dürrnberg plateau. For thousands of years it has been a valuable food and preservative, at one time as valuable as gold. They crossed the bridge over Salzach River and headed into town for a fish dinner at the open-air restaurant in the town square, surrounded by centuries old buildings.
The earliest settlers gathered surface deposits of salt, but underground mining began around the 5th century BC.
They told the story of the mine throughout history, and the rise and fall of the archbishop, shown in parts as they went around the mine.
In 1829, a treaty was created between Austria and Bavaria because of that, stating that up to ninety Bavarian farmers were allowed to work in the mine. Visitors straddle two wooden rails and slide on the padded seat of their coveralls, and are told not to put their feet down to brake ! Hamish and Jennifer slid at nearly 16km an hour, but some kids were reaching the high 20s ! There is even a reconstruction of 'The Man in the Salt', one of two mummified Celtic miners found in 1573 and in 1616, who had been buried in the salt in a tunnel, with his shoes, clothing and wooden pick-axe intact.
Water was introduced to caverns, which absorbed salt from the walls for several weeks, creating brine water which was then extracted, and boiled in pans leaving the salt.
The final chamber contained memorials to saints and benefactors, and some paintings from the 1700s of the coat-of-arms of local nobles and princes. The focus is not on the village at present, due to be rebuilt soon, as new evidence has been unearthed that the hut roofs were actually made of wooden shakes, a more advanced construction technique than the thatch that was first thought covered the buildings.
But they must have overcome that and worked the mines year round, as there is evidence of summertime activity found in debris buried in the salt. A reconstructed mound houses a life size model of the chariot burial of a chief, richly furnished with grave objects, some of the originals now housed in the Keltenmuseum Hallein.
Built in 1654, the former Salina administration building also held the shipping, building and forestry offices, and salt-drying rooms, for over three centuries. The chariot driver wore a helmet and armour, while the spear-throwing warrior had his hair spiked with lime paste, and was depicted skillfully riding the chariot yoke. A nearby gallery held stone and marble replicas of Celtic and Roman statues, friezes, and gravestones from around ancient Europe, including a copies of the Celtic Prince statue 'The Keltenfürst of Glauberg' of Hessen in Germany, and the famous Roman 'Dying Gaul' and the 'Ludovisi Gaul' statues. There were surviving fragments of striped and trartan cloth, and a full size replica of an ancient loom. Archaeological digs last century, at burial mounds on the Dürrnberg plateau above Hallein, revealed many treasures, some now housed in the Keltenmuseum Hallein. One of the masterpieces of Celtic art from the second half of the 5th century BC - the famous bronze beaked flagon known as the 'Schnabelkanne' or the 'Flagon of Dürrnberg'. Their destination was the remote ancient town of Hallstatt, which gave it's name to the very earliest of Celtic cultures, the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture. Surprisingly, the first road to the village was only built in 1890, it previously being accessible only by track or boat.
The area has been settled for over 7000 years, since the begiining of the Neolithic period, with folks attracted by the salt deposits in the hanging valley above the village. The village is a picturesque cluster of lake and cliff-side medieval buildings, and has been used for several movies.
It may have been cheaper to stay outside the village, but they found a great guesthouse just off the village square - the 15th century Gasthof Simony, and were made very welcome by friendly host Valentin Eybl, whose grandmother Susanna Scheutz is the owner.
The museum houses objects from the Stone Age to the present day, from the oldest salt mine in the world, and the world famous Hallstatt cemetery that gave it's name to an entire early culture period from 850-500 BC - the Hallstatt Culture. There were buckles, fibulae or brooches, bracelets and armbands, and bronze, gold and glass jewelry.
Pendants in particular were intricate, but almost mechanical looking, with wheels and chains. They built luxurious villas with underfloor heating and glass windows, but preferred to like down on the lakeside. Thanks to Elisabeth Schwarz and Director Rudolf Gamsjäger for their hospitality at the Museum Hallstatt.


Even in the rain there were many tourists, with little Japanese ladies pushing and jumping ahead of folks in line.
The presence of antiquities was known before, with mine workers finding ancient objects as early as around 1600 AD, and artifacts ending up in private collections and museums for the next 200 years. A small building along the path houses a reconstruction of a princely burial, with replica rich grave goods. Eight of these buildings are known of, dating from the Bronze Age around the 13th-12th century BC. The tour group donned blue coveralls, and waited quite a while for a private group to get ahead of them into the mine.
As in the other Saltzwelten, there are two wooden slides, the traditional way of getting quickly from one level of the mine to a lower one. Medieval miners formed the salt into blocks by using wooden moulds, to be transported in carts out of the mine. The final leg was an electric train ride through quite a narrow tunnel, before bursting out from underground into the sunlight - it had stopped raining. There was now a clear view of the surrounding mountains, and the village of Obertraun across the lake. Intrigued, they popped in and asked for their host Valentin's uncle Arnold, the local woodworker he thought they might like to meet.
They saw both churches, the more modrern Protestant Evangelical one by the lake, and the imposing Catholic Church of Maria Himmelfahrt (Mary Ascension), also known as 'Maria am Berg' (Mary at the mountain, sitting up on a hill. In older times the graves were opened up after ten to twenty years, and skulls and other bones removed, and transferred to the Charnel House, or Beinhaus (Bone house), located in the 12th century chapel St. The ancient working salt mine, archaeologically unparalleled burial grounds, museum and medieval village, not to mention outstanding natural beauty, make it clear to see why the region was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is a reproduction from the Lindisfarne Gospels and mixes spirals and shapes after the early Celtic La Tène style, and zoomorphic birds. Hand painted in enamels on metal, the original Celtic Dragon mixes several styles of Celtic art, the zoomorphic creature emanating from a tradtional knot (originally found on carved stones in Scotland). The modern city is a university town, and owes it's wealth to watch-making and precision-engineering. The museum building also houses the canton's archaeological service and the University of Neuchâtel's Institute of Prehistory, with artifact storage, a library, laboratories, and a lecture hall and conference room.
He also explained that the large hill across the lake, Mont Vully, was the fortress of the powerful Helvetii tribe, active in the 1st century BC and inhabiting most of the Swiss Plateau at the time of Roman contact, and that local archaeologists had re-constructed a section of the fortress wall where it once stood. Many objects were well preserved in the oxygen-free mud, even though they were several hundreds of years earlier than La Tène treasures in the museums of Britain and Ireland.
The horse featured on many Celtic coins from all regions, a tribute to the horse-goddess Epona. Of the thousands of menhirs across Europe, it is unknown why this one has a carved face, and what appear to be hands and other markings.
They then saw posts marking the pilings of the original Neolithic village found in 1984, with six large houses, and many outbuildings dated around 3800 BC, three of which are re-constructed on site.
After walking through some fields they found the ancient embankments of the oppidum of the Helvetii dating to 200 BC. One of the main centres in Europe, a Celtic community thrived here from 600 BC until the Romans took over the kingdom of Noricum, a federation of twelve tribes, in 15 BC.
The Hallein salt industry reached it's height in the 15th century, out-matching all other salt producing areas for 100 years, due to the easy access of the Salzach River as a transportation and trade route. First they put on white coveralls to protect their clothes inside the mine, and boarded an electric train for a 400m (1,300 ft) ride into the mine. He was removed for a local burial, when of course his well-preserved body soon decayed in the air. All the weapons, armour, chariot and fittings, and clothing are based on actual archaeological finds or pictorial rederings from friezes, gravestones and other period objects.
An extensive collection of Celtic belts and buckles, weapons, armour and fittings, helmets and a very unusual shield.
There were many items of personal jewelry - glass and metal bracelets, armbands, necklaces and torcs, and also jewelry for clothing.
Wine was quite rare and the Celts are said to have exchanged a slave for a barrel, making the volume of this vessel correspod to 'half a human life' on that scale ! Now the road runs through tunnels in the cliffside above the village, coming down to the lake level on the other side - there are even parking spots in the tunnel that look down on the medieval buildings. On his suggestion they headed to the welcoming door of the Brauhaus restaurant for dinner, and were to look out for his uncle Arnold, a local woodworker he thought they might like to meet. It tells the sory of the native people, possibly Illyric tribes, then the Celts, Romans, the Middle Ages, and into the modern period.
Whether the style was native to the pre-Celtic folk of the region (possibly Illyric tribesmen), or acquired by trading the riches of salt, and adopted by the locals, is open to speculation. Also covered was Medieval local history, the fortunes of the salt mine, the Salt Wars, and the Hallstatt fire of 1750 when 35 houses in the village were destroyed.
Thanks to the folks of Salzwelten Hallein who had called ahead and arranged for Hamish's visit to Saltzwelten Hallstatt, who run the funicular and the salt mine tours.
One bronze hoard from the 13th century BC was discovered in 1830 and sold for scrap and melted down ! The very first grave excavated is the only one marked with a memorial and a water fountain, alongside the pathway. They are believed to be curing or salting tubs for pork, due to the many pig bones found around each structure.
The group walked into the mine, and the guide covered very basic points in 3 languages, but mainly let the high-tech audio-visual displays tell the history of the mine. By 1595 brine from the mine here was being transported 40km via an early pipeline to Ebensee, and salt is still extracted today in an unbroken tradition. Arnold Lobisser was not only a woodworker, but a musical instrument maker and teacher of that art, and the bagpiper they had heard, with many sets of his own making. The wings are decorated after the early Celtic La Tène style, featuring curvilinear shapes on a background of cross-hatching. It is a Celtic Tree of Life coming out of a traditional cauldron, with the seven creations of the ancient Celtic world - plants, humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects. Featuring zoomorphic Celtic designs, with an original Dolphin, and a traditional Dog and Bird. After a Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac fame) book signing, Bagpiper Roger McKinley piped Mick Fleetwood to the store, for a traditional Hawaiian blessing from kahuna Vene Chun. If you want a chat with him about his art, please call 808-264-5190, and he'll pop round to the coffee shop to see you.
The tribal name Helvetii is associated with Helvetia, the female personification of Switzerland, seen on modern Swiss coins and stamps.
Most surprising were the intact wooden objects, such as an ancient shield, and a complete chariot wheel and carriage fittings. The town prospered in medieval times with it's salt works, and the trade gave it's name to the city and state of Salzburg, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The salt works were monopolized by the Archbishops of Salzburg, virtual princes of the region, who became extremely wealthy, and even had Salt Wars with neighbouring regions. Hamish and Jennifer took the boat trip across one of these eerie, but beautiful, underground lakes on the tour. From behind the admisitrative building there was a great view of the Dürrnberg plateau and the Barmsteine pinnacles. Dr.Holzner showed them around the Celtic galleries explaining the significance of some ancient artifacts, and an overview of the combined culture of the Celts of Hallein and Hallstatt and beyond, which became known as the Hallstatt culture.
An unparalleled collection of various sized fibulae or brooches, ranging from plain pins to realistic and fantastic renditions of animals, with fish, birds, boars and strange double-headed beasts. Large quantities of pork was salted, with possibly 150-200 pigs being cured in the tubs during a single process. He invited them into his workshop, an amazing place steeped with years of tradition, and he and his friend shared the evening and some nice local wine with Hamish and Jennifer. The skulls were cleaned and bleached in the sun, and from 1720 AD it became a tradition to paint them with the name of the person, the year of death, and other decorations such as flowers and crosses. In this case the tree, the couple, their dog, a pheasant, koi fish (with water), a skink, and a dragonfly.
In the tattoo (around his leg) the birds foot entwined with the dolphin's tail creating a continuous circle of life.
He blessed the doors, Mick and family, the store, the art gallery, and all the artists and their work. The abbreviation for Switzerland, CH, comes from 'Confoederatio Helvetica', Latin for the country's full name the Swiss Confederation. Local archaeologists have re-constructed a section of the fortress wall where it once stood. They were joined by Leiter Knopp between his meetings, who highlighted the treasures of the museum (see below). The most unusual were tiny shoes brooches, and a miniature man in ancient clothing, which had to be viewed with a magnifying glass to see the detail. The valley mouth is dominated by the historic Rudolfsturm Tower, now a restaurant, previously serving as home of the director of the mines, but once a fortification during the Salt Wars.
He brought out many dudelsack, or bagpipes, of his own creation, German, Bohemian, Italian and more, and Hamish tried a few tunes on these unusual pipes.
There are over 1200 skulls in the Charnel House, with 610 of them painted and arranged according to family names.



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