Family tree – an old family from Mühldorf

A Celtic family adopts Roman customs

In 1994, this ancient gravestone was found during excavation work to the south-east of Mühldorf in Pattendorf. It bears the inscription for a funerary monument in Roman style. The name of the deceased is engraved on the stone: Atestas, son of Atto. Other members of the family are also mentioned (see the family tree). All of the names are Celtic. That indicates that the Celts gradually adopted Roman burial rites. As not everybody could afford an inscription stone for their grave, let alone one made out of marble, we can assume that Atestas’s family was well-to-do and belonged to the Celtic elite. It is believed that they lived in the first century A.D.

Children Text

“We Celts find it strange that the Romans write everything down. My grandfather Gannicus says that we have to keep our ancient stories in our heads and, therefore, must learn them off by heart. You can see the pictures in your mind’s eye and then it’s easier to remember the stories. That’s why all Celts are wonderful storytellers. And that’s how our knowledge is passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. The Roman lad, Lucius, who I know from the Roman town of Teurnia, thinks that’s silly. He says that when you write something down, you can’t forget it and it can’t get lost. Lucius reckons that it’ll still be possible to read about us in one thousand years or more. Does he really think that people in the future will be interested in us? Then I would carve our names in stone one day.”


Who’s right – Lucius or Matugenta? Or maybe both of them? And can you decipher a few names on the gravestone?

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