La Tene

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Situated on Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland, La Tene is the site of a large votive deposit of bronze, iron and wooden objects found in the shallow water at the edge of the lake and dating to the later Iron Age. It has given its name to the second Iron Age in much of Europe, succeeding the Hallstatt culture c500 bc and lasting until the arrival of the Romans (at different times in different areas). The La Tene culture demonstrates clear continuity from the Hallstatt culture in settlement type, burial rite and many aspects of material culture. Settlement was characteristically in hillforts and from the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc massive oppida occur, some of which (e.g. Bibracte and Manching) can be regarded as of urban or proto-urban status. As in the Hallstatt culture, there is a notable distinction between the markedly wealthy burials of chieftains and their associates, and burials of other members of society. As in the Hallstatt period also, the chieftains were often buried with vehicles, but these are now usually two-wheeled chariots, rather than fourwheeled wagons. The rich graves, which are concentrated in the Rhineland and on the Marne, continue to include a wide variety of metal and pottery goods imported from the Greek and Etruscan cities of the Mediterranean. The La Tene period is best known for the art style, known as Celtic art, developed by metalworkers in the chieftain’s courts from the 5th century bc and used for a wide range of weapons, ornaments and drinking vessels. The La Tene culture was the culture of the Celtic groups which the Romans encountered in Europe and we therefore have literary sources as well as archaeological evidence (especially in Caesar’s Gallic Wars). See also Arras, Belgae.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied