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Kurt Zeller

1920 - 7th January 2009

Appreciation by
Vincent Megaw

On 7 January 2009 Kurt Zeller, Director of the Keltenmuseum Hallein and of the Österreichisches Forschungszentrum Dürrnberg, in the Salzkammergut in upper Austria, died of cancer. Kurt Zeller's career was very much the case of the local boy made good. Although he obtained an MA from Marburg where he studied under Otto-Herman Frey, the doyen of Celtic art studies, Zeller - or Kurti to his friends - spent his working life on or below the great Iron Age saltmining complex of the Dürrnberg. Nicknamed the 'Golden Boy' for his mop of blond hair - the model for the chieftain in the reconstruction of one of the richest of the Dürrnberg graves (see Antiquity 55 (1981): plate 19b and Megaw on p.126). Zeller was a superb excavator with a nose for the most spectacular of the Dürrnberg graves but he also knew his way around local politics without which his two lasting monuments would not be as they are today. The complete renovation of the Keltenmuseum in the seventeenth century salt miners' guildhall makes it an obvious draw for anyone interested in one of the key sites of the European Iron Age, while the Forschungszentrum Zeller established to offer a resource for the study - and eventual publication - of the material which continues to be uncovered is his legacy to scholarship. The Golden Boy is now at rest; he will indeed be a hard act to follow.

See also obituary in Drehpunkt-Kultur, die Salzburger Kulturzeitung im Internet: