Berne zinc tablet
A Gaulish inscription (though this is debated, whether the language is truly Gaulish or Latin) to the smithing god Gobannos. It was found in Bern, Switzerland, in 1980.
The tablet was made on a type of alloy originally thought to be modern zinc, and thus a forgery, but later proved to be an alloy of copper, lead, iron, tin, and cadmium, made from the scraps at a forge--an appropriate material, given the deity involved.
The inscription itself is obscure:
"Dobnoredo Gobano Brenodor Nantaror".
First, the inscription is apparently a mixture of Greek and Latin alphabets, both having been used by the Celts.
"Dobnoredo" may be *dubno- "world" and *redo- "wheel" or "chariot", and refer to the god as "world traveller" or "world-wheel [creator]". In Irish myth, Goibniu's companion is Creidne, a wheel-wright.
"Nantaror" may come from nant "valley", meaning "the Valley of the Aare", a river in Switzerland which runs through Bern.
"Brenodor" is more difficult. Its placement with Nantaror probably indicates it is the name of a town. "Bren" may be brennos, "raven." However, dor is more difficult. It may be related to -durum, which is derived from the proto-Celtic *dwor- or *duro- meaning "door", but as -durum means "forum." So "Brenodor" may mean "Brenos Forum", refering to a place in the Valley of Aare.
And so the inscription may read "To Gobannos, the world-traveller, from the people of Brenodor in the Valley of Aare."
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Mary Jones © 2006