Celts

Celts

Cornwall
Origins of the Celts
Proto Celtic
Written Celtic
Genetical Connections
The Atlantic Celtic branch
The Gallic and Iberian branch
The Italo-Celtic branch
Indo-Europeans
Haplogroup R1b
Bell Beaker culture
Únětice culture
Tumulus culture
Urnfield culture
Hallstatt culture
La Tène culture
Gaul

Cornwall

Scientists find that tin found in Israel from 3,000 years ago comes from Cornwall. Tin ingots from more than 3,000 years ago found in Israel are actually from Cornwall, a ceremonial county in South West England. It proves that complex trade routes existed as far back as the Bronze Age.
According to John T. Koch and others, Cornwall in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age (1300–700 BC), in modern-day Ireland, England, Wales, France, Spain and Portugal. Commercial contacts extended from Sweden and Denmark to the Mediterranean.
The period was defined by a number of distinct regional centres of metal production, unified by a regular maritime exchange of some of their products. The major centres were southern England and Ireland, north-western France, and western Iberia.
It is marked by economic and cultural exchange that led to the high degree of cultural similarity exhibited by the coastal communities, including the frequent use of stones as chevaux-de-frise, the establishment of cliff castles, or the domestic architecture sometimes characterized by the round houses.

Origins of the Celts

The Celts are a collection of Indo-European peoples of Europe identified by their use of the Celtic languages and other cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial.
The Celtic languages form a branch of the larger Indo-European family. By the time speakers of Celtic languages entered history around 400 BC, they were already split into several language groups, and spread over much of Western continental Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Ireland and Britain.
The Greek historian Ephorus of Cyme in Asia Minor, writing in the 4th century BC, believed that the Celts came from the islands off the mouth of the Rhine and were “driven from their homes by the frequency of wars and the violent rising of the sea”.
The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy.
According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European family, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 750 BC), a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition.
Urnfield culture followed the Unetice (2300 -1600 BC) and Tumulus (1600-1200 BC) cultures. Recently, the Únětice culture has been cited as a pan-European cultural phenomenon whose influence covered large areas due to intensive exchange, with Únětice pottery and bronze artefacts found from Ireland to Scandinavia, the Italian Peninsula, and the Balkans.
The archeological and genetic evidence (distribution of R1b subclades) point at several consecutive waves towards eastern and central Germany between 2800 BCE and 2300 BCE. The Unetice culture was probably the first culture in which R1b-L11 lineages played a major role.
It is interesting to note that the Unetice period happen to correspond to the end of the Maykop (2500 BCE) and Kemi Oba (2200 BCE) cultures on the northern shores of the Black Sea, and their replacement by cultures descended from the northern steppes.
It can therefore be envisaged that the (mostly) R1b population from the northern half of the Black Sea migrated westward due to pressure from other Indo-European people (R1a) from the north, for example that of the burgeoning Proto-Indo-Iranian branch, linked to the contemporary Poltavka and Abashevo cultures.
It is doubtful that the Bell Beaker culture (2800-1900 BCE), or short Beaker culture, an archaeological culture named after the inverted-bell beaker drinking vessel used at the very beginning of the European Bronze Age in Western Europe, was already Indo-European because its attributes are in perfect continuity with the native Megalithic cultures.
Bell Beaker culture succeeded by the Unetice culture, in Britain until as late as 1800 BC. The culture was widely scattered throughout Western Europe, from various regions in Iberia and spots facing northern Africa to the Danubian plains, the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, and also the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
The Beaker phenomenon started during the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic in Portugal and propagated to the north-east towards Germany. During the same period Bronze Age Steppe cultures spread from Germany in the opposite direction towards Iberia, France and Britain, progressively bringing R1b lineages into the Bell Beaker territory.
It is more likely that the beakers and horses found across Western Europe during that period were the result of trade with neighbouring Indo-European cultures, including the first wave of R1b into Central Europe.
It is equally possible that the Beaker people were R1b merchants or explorers who travelled across Western Europe and brought back tales of riches poorly defended by Stone Age people waiting to be to be conquered. This would have prompted a full-scale Indo-European (R1b) invasion from about 2500 BCE in Germany, reaching the Atlantic (north of the Pyrenees at least) around 2200 BCE.
The Unetice culture is candidate for a late community connecting a continuum of already scattered North-West Indo-European languages ancestral to Italic, Celtic, and Germanic, and perhaps Balto-Slavic, where words were frequently exchanged and a common lexicon and certain regional isoglosses were shared.
The Tumulus culture (German: Hügelgräberkultur) dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600 to 1200 BC). It was the descendant of the Unetice culture. Its heartland was the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture besides Bavaria and Württemberg. It was succeeded by the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture.
The Urnfield period saw a dramatic increase in population in the region, probably due to innovations in technology and agriculture. Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this area spoke an early form of Celtic, perhaps originally proto-Celtic.
According to another theory proposed in the 19th century, the first people to adopt cultural characteristics regarded as Celtic were the people of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture in central Europe (c. 800–450 BC), named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria. It is thus that this area is sometimes called the “Celtic homeland”.
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Late Bronze Age (Hallstatt A, Hallstatt B) from the 12th to 8th centuries BC and Early Iron Age Europe (Hallstatt C, Hallstatt D) from the 8th to 6th centuries BC.
It developed out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and was followed in much of its area by the European Iron Age La Tène culture. The Hallstatt culture is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstatt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstatt zone.
The late Iron Age La Tène culture developed and flourished from about 450 BCE to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC, succeeding the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture without any definite cultural break, under the impetus of considerable Mediterranean influence from the Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, the Greek, Phoenician and Etruscans, and the Golasecca culture (900-400 BC).
The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of Continental Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period (roughly from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD). The area they originally inhabited was known as Gaul. Their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages.
Archaeologically, the Gauls were bearers of the La Tène culture, which extended across all of Gaul, as well as east to Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and southwestern Germania during the 5th to 1st centuries BC.
The Golasecca culture was a Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age culture in northern Italy, whose type-site was excavated at Golasecca in the province of Varese, Lombardy. The culture’s material evidence is scattered over a wide area south of the Alps, between the rivers Po, Serio and Sesia, and bordered on the north by the Alpine passes.
By or during the later La Tène period (c. 450 BC to the Roman conquest), this Celtic culture was supposed to have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles (Insular Celts), France and the Low Countries (Gauls), Bohemia, Poland and much of Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula (Celtiberians, Celtici, Lusitanians and Gallaeci) and northern Italy (Golasecca culture and Cisalpine Gauls) and, following the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe beginning in 279 BC, as far east as central Anatolia (Galatians) in modern-day Turkey.
By the mid-1st millennium, with the expansion of the Roman Empire and migrating Germanic tribes, Celtic culture and Insular Celtic languages had become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain (Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall), the Isle of Man, and Brittany.
Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity. They had a common linguistic, religious and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, however, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use. Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels (Irish, Scottish and Manx) and the Celtic Britons (Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons) of the medieval and modern periods.
A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain, Ireland, and other European territories, such as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Today, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, and Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival.
The origins of the Celts were attributed to this period in 2008 by John T. Koch and supported by Barry Cunliffe, who argued for the past development of Celtic as an Atlantic lingua franca, later spreading into mainland Europe. However, this stands in contrast to what remains the more generally accepted view that Celtic origins lie with the Central European Hallstatt C culture.
They argue that communities adopted early Late Bronze Age Urnfield (Bronze D and Hallstatt A) elite status markers such as grip-tongue swords and sheet-bronze metalwork, along with new specialist know-how needed for their production and ritual knowledge about their ‘proper’ treatment upon deposition, which they see as indicating possible processes linked to language shift.
The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the partially reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis, or vocabulary, can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics, in the same manner as Proto-Indo-European or PIE, the ancient language which has been most thoroughly re-constructed.
Proto-Celtic is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language and is itself the ancestor of the Celtic languages which are members of the modern Indo-European language family, the most commonly spoken language family.
Modern Celtic languages share common features with Italic languages that are unseen in other branches and according to one theory they may have formed an ancient Italo-Celtic branch. In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others.
The duration of the cultures speaking Proto-Celtic was relatively brief compared to PIE’s 2,000 years. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe c.1300 BCE. By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC these people had become fully Celtic.

Proto Celtic

The pre-Celtic period in the prehistory of Central and Western Europe occurred before the expansion of the Celts or their culture in Iron Age Europe and Anatolia (9th to 6th centuries BC), but after the emergence of the Proto-Celtic language and cultures.
The area involved is that of the maximum extent of the Celtic languages in about the mid 1st century BC. The extent to which Celtic language, culture and genetics coincided and interacted during this period remains very uncertain and controversial.
The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the partially reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis, or vocabulary, can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics, in the same manner as Proto-Indo-European or PIE, the ancient language which has been most thoroughly re-constructed.
Proto-Celtic is mainly dated to approximately 800 BC, coincident with the Hallstatt culture, while the earliest possible divergence of pre-proto-Celtic dialects from Proto-Indo-European is mainly dated to between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.
The very existence of Indo-European in Western Europe before the arrival of the Celts is highly speculative. In continental Europe, pre-Celtic languages of the European Bronze Age may be taken to comprise two distinct groups.
Non-Indo-European languages (i.e. Pre-Indo-European languages); these include Basque, Rhaetic, Etruscan, Iberian, which may be related to Basque but is still unclassified, Aquitanian and Paleo-Sardinian.
Some scholars group Etruscan, Rhaetic and Lemnian together in the hypothetical Tyrrhenian language family, which may have originated in the Aegean Sea or during the Neolithic north of the Alps.
Conversely, the Lemnian language could have arrived in the Aegean Sea during the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean rulers recruited groups of mercenaries from Sicily, Sardinia and various parts of the Italian peninsula.
Indo-European dialects, such as Illyrian, possibly Lusitanian, the Proto-Italo-Celtic dialects, Belgian and “Old European”. However, Lusitanian and Belgian can turn out to be Celtic, while Old European can turn out to be either Celtic or non-Indo-European.
It has been suggested that results of large-scale genetic surveys, undertaken since the late 20th century, show that the present-day speakers of pre-Indo-European languages may not solely represent relict populations.
For instance, Basques show a dominance of the Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b, which a majority of scholars now propose spread through Europe relatively recently, from the Eurasian steppe and/or southwest Asia in the late Neolithic period or early Bronze Age (4,000 to 8,000 years ago). It should also be mentioned that R1b quite quickly annihilated all indigenous male lineages in Iberia.
However, present-day Basques also harbour some very rare and archaic lineages, such as the Paleolithic mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup U8a, and autosomal genetic analysis (the whole genome, not just Y-DNA) has shown that a majority of their ancestry derives from Neolithic farmers and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, pre-dating the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages.
Proto-Celtic is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language and is itself the ancestor of the Celtic languages which are members of the modern Indo-European language family, the most commonly spoken language family.
Modern Celtic languages share common features with Italic languages that are unseen in other branches and according to one theory they may have formed an ancient Italo-Celtic branch.
The duration of the cultures speaking Proto-Celtic was relatively brief compared to PIE’s 2,000 years. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe c.1300 BCE. By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC these people had become fully Celtic.
The reconstruction of Proto-Celtic is currently being undertaken, by necessity relying on later iterations of Celtic languages. Although Continental Celtic presents much substantiation for Proto-Celtic phonology, and some for its morphology, recorded material is too scanty to allow a secure reconstruction of syntax, although some complete sentences are recorded in the Continental Gaulish and Celtiberian.
Therefore, the primary sources for reconstruction come from the Insular Celtic languages with the oldest literature found in Old Irish and Middle Welsh, dating back to authors flourishing in the 6th century CE.
In historical linguistics, Italo-Celtic is a grouping of the Italic and Celtic branches of the Indo-European language family on the basis of features shared by these two branches and no others. There is controversy about the causes of these similarities. They are usually considered to be innovations, likely to have developed after the breakup of the Proto-Indo-European language.
The most common alternative interpretation is that the close proximity of Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic over a long period could have encouraged the parallel development of what were already quite separate languages; areal features within a Sprachbund.
As Watkins (1966) puts it, “the community of -ī in Italic and Celtic is attributable to early contact, rather than to an original unity”. The assumed period of language contact could then be later, perhaps continuing well into the first millennium BC.
However, if some of the forms are archaic elements of Proto-Indo-European that were lost in other branches, neither model of post-PIE relationship need be postulated. Italic and especially Celtic also share some distinctive features with the Hittite language (an Anatolian language) and the Tocharian languages, and these features are certainly archaisms.
The Proto-Celtic language, also called Common Celtic, is the partially reconstructed ancestor language of all the known Celtic languages. Its lexis, or vocabulary, can be confidently reconstructed on the basis of the comparative method of historical linguistics, in the same manner as Proto-Indo-European or PIE, the ancient language which has been most thoroughly re-constructed.
Proto-Celtic is a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European language and is itself the ancestor of the Celtic languages which are members of the modern Indo-European language family, the most commonly spoken language family. Modern Celtic languages share common features with Italic languages that are unseen in other branches and according to one theory they may have formed an ancient Italo-Celtic branch.
The duration of the cultures speaking Proto-Celtic was relatively brief compared to PIE’s 2,000 years. The earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe c.1300 BCE. By the Iron Age Hallstatt culture of around 800 BC these people had become fully Celtic.

Written Celtic

The earliest undisputed records of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions of Cisalpine Gaul (Northern Italy) from the beginning in the 6th century BC, the oldest of which predate the La Tène period. Lepontic is an ancient Alpine Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Rhaetia and Cisalpine Gaul between 550 and 100 BC.
Other early inscriptions, appearing from the early La Tène period in the area of Massilia, are in Gaulish, which was written in the Greek alphabet until the Roman conquest. Celtiberian inscriptions, using their own Iberian script, appear later, after about 200 BC.
Evidence of Insular Celtic is available only from about 400 AD, in the form of Primitive Irish Ogham inscriptions. Besides epigraphical evidence, an important source of information on early Celtic is toponymy.
Together with Gaulish and the Celtiberian language spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, Lepontic helps form the geographic group of Continental Celtic languages. The precise linguistic relationships among them, as well as between them and the modern Insular Celtic languages, are uncertain and a matter of ongoing debate because of their sparse attestation.
While Continental Celtic languages are attested almost exclusively through inscriptions and place-names, Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although they were clearly being spoken much earlier.
Celtic literary tradition begins with the Insular Celtic Old Irish texts around the 8th century AD. Coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge (“Cattle Raid of Cooley”), survive in 12th-century recensions.
The Goidelic or Gaelic languages form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages, the other being the Brittonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from Ireland through the Isle of Man to Scotland. There are three modern Goidelic languages: Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), and Manx (Gaelg), which died out in the 20th century but has since been revived to some degree.
The Brittonic languages derive from the Common Brittonic language, spoken throughout Great Britain south of the Firth of Forth during the Iron Age and Roman period. In addition, North of the Forth, the Pictish language is considered to be related; it is possible it was a Brittonic language, but it may have been a sister language. Brittonic languages in use today are Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
The Continental Celtic languages are the Celtic languages, now extinct, that were spoken on the continent of Europe, as distinguished from the Insular Celtic languages of the British Isles, Ireland, and Brittany. Continental Celtic is a geographic, not a linguistic, grouping of the ancient Celtic languages.
The Continental Celtic languages were spoken by the people known to Roman and Greek writers as Keltoi, Celtae, Galli and Galatae. These languages were spoken in an arc stretching across from Iberia in the west to the Balkans and Anatolia in the east.

Genetical Connections

Historically many scholars postulated that there was genetic evidence of a common origin of the European Atlantic populations i.e.: Orkney Islands, Scottish, Irish, British, Bretons, and Iberians (Basques, Galicians). More recent genetic evidence does not support the notion of a significant genetic link between these populations, beyond the fact that they are all West Eurasians.
Sardinian-like Neolithic farmers did populate Britain (and all of Northern Europe) during the Neolithic period, however, recent genetics research has claimed that, between 2400BC and 2000BC, over 90% of British DNA was overturned by a North European population of ultimate Russian Steppe origin as part of an ongoing migration process that brought large amounts of Steppe DNA (including the R1b haplogroup) to North and West Europe.
Modern autosomal genetic clustering is testament to this fact, as both modern and Iron Age British and Irish samples cluster genetically very closely with other North European populations, and somewhat limited with Galicians, Basques or those from the south of France.
Such findings have largely put to rest the theory that there is a significant ancestral genetic link (beyond being Europeans) between the various ‘Celtic’ peoples in the Atlantic area, instead, they are related in that male lines are brother R1b L151 subclades with the local native maternal line admixture explaining the genetic distance noted.
R-L151, also known as R-L11 and R1b1a2a1a, is a subclade of the broader haplogroup R1b (R-M343). It is most often found in males from Western Europe – especially Western France, Northern Spain, Great Britain, and Ireland. This haplogroup is related to the period of Corded Ware or Beaker culture, and possibly founded 3,000 years before our era in the Central part of Europe (possible Bohemia region).
R-L151 is the most populous branch of R-M269, and is found in abundance along the Atlantic coasts of western Europe, especially Aquitaine, Asturias, Basques, Belgium, Brittany, Galicia, England, Ireland (as a whole), the Loire region, the isle of Man, Northern Portugal, Northern Spain, Scotland, and Wales.
It is also found at significant levels in Switzerland and Northern Italy. R-L151 is found at lower frequencies in Poland and Ukraine, as well as many other European countries. Since the early modern era, males emigrating from Europe have introduced significant levels of R-L151 to The Americas and Australasia.

The Atlantic Celtic branch

The Proto-Italo-Celto-Germanic R1b people had reached in what is now Germany by 2500 BCE. By 2300 BCE they had arrived in large numbers and founded the Unetice culture. Judging from the propagation of bronze working to Western Europe, those first Indo-Europeans reached France and the Low Countries by 2200 BCE, Britain by 2100 BCE and Ireland by 2000 BCE, and Iberia by 1800 BCE.
This first wave of R1b presumably carried R1b-L21 lineages in great number (perhaps because of a founder effect), as these are found everywhere in western, northern and Central Europe. The presence of R1b-L21 (DF13 and DF21 subclades) have been confirmed in Ireland around 2000 BCE.
Those genomes closely resembled those of the Unetice culture autosomally, but differed greatly from the earlier Neolithic Irish samples. This confirms that a direct migration of R1b-L21 from Central Europe was responsible for the introduction of the Bronze Age to Ireland.
The early split of L21 from the main Proto-Celtic branch around Germany would explain why the Q-Celtic languages (Goidelic and Hispano-Celtic) diverged so much from the P-Celtic branch (La Tène, Gaulish, Brythonic), which appears to have expanded from the later Urnfield and Hallstat cultures.
Some L21 lineages from the Netherlands and northern Germany later entered Scandinavia (from 1700 BCE) with the dominant subclade of the region, R1b-S21/U106.
The stronger presence of L21 in Norway and Iceland can be attributed to the Norwegian Vikings, who had colonised parts of Scotland and Ireland and taken slaves among the native Celtic populations, whom they brought to their new colony of Iceland and back to Norway. Nowadays about 20% of all Icelandic male lineages are R1b-L21 of Scottish or Irish origin.
In France, R1b-L21 is mainly present in historical Brittany (including Mayenne and Vendée) and in Lower Normandy. This region was repopulated by massive immigration of insular Britons in the 5th century due to pressure from the invading Anglo-Saxons.
However, it is possible that L21 was present in Armorica since the Bronze age or the Iron age given that the tribes of the Armorican Confederation of ancient Gaul already had a distinct identity from the other Gauls and had maintained close ties with the British Isles at least since the Atlantic Bronze Age.

The Gallic and Iberian branch

The first Proto-Celtic R1b lineages to reach France and the Iberian peninsula from Central Europe were probably L21 and DF27. Whereas L21 might have taken a northern route through Belgium and northern France on its way to the British Isles, DF27 seems to have spread all over France but heading in greater number toward the south.
The Bronze Age did not appear in Iberia until 1800 BCE, and was mostly confined to the cultures of El Argar and Los Millares in south-east Spain, with sporadic sites showing up in Castile by 1700 BCE and in Extremadura and southern Portugal by 1500 BCE.
These Early Bronze Age sites typically did not have more than some bronze daggers or axes and cannot be considered proper Bronze Age societies, but rather Copper Age societies with occasional bronze artefacts (perhaps imported).
These cultures might have been founded by small groups of R1b adventurers looking for easy conquests in parts of Europe that did not yet have bronze weapons. They would have become a small ruling elite, would have had children with local women, and within a few generations their Indo-European language would have been lost, absorbed by the indigenous languages.
Genomes of various skeletons from West Iberia dating from the Middle and Late Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Middle Bronze Age (since the Early Bronze Age did not reach that region) have been sequenced.
Neolithic and Chalcolithic individuals belonged to Y-haplogroups I*, I2a1 and G2a. In contrast, all three Bronze Age Portuguese men tested belonged to R1b (one M269 and two P312), although they carried Neolithic Iberian maternal lineages (H1, U5b3, X2b) and lacked any discernible Steppe admixture.
This is concordant with a scenario of Indo-European R1b men entering Iberia from 1800 BCE as a small group of adventurers and taking local wives, thus diluting their DNA at each generation, until hardly any Steppe admixture was left after a few centuries, by the time they reached Portugal.
Nowadays, Spaniards and Portuguese do possess about 25% of Steppe admixture, which means that other more important Indo-European migrations took place later on, during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
Iberia did not become a fully-fledged Bronze Age society until the 13th century BCE, when the Urnfield culture (1300-1200 BCE) expanded from Germany to Catalonia via southern France, then the ensuing Hallstatt culture (1200-750 BCE) spread throughout most of the peninsula (especially the western half). This period belongs to the wider Atlantic Bronze Age (1300-700 BCE), when Iberia was connected to the rest of Western Europe through a complex trade network.
It is hard to say when exactly DF27 entered Iberia. Considering its overwhelming presence in the peninsula and in south-west France, it is likely that DF27 arrived early, during the 1800 to 1300 BCE period, and perhaps even earlier, if R1b adventurers penetrated the Bell Beaker culture, as they appear to have done all over Western Europe from 2300 BCE to 1800 BCE.
The Atlantic Bronze Age could correspond to the period when DF27 radiated more evenly around Iberia and ended up, following Atlantic trade routes, all the way to the British Isles, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

The Italo-Celtic branch

Starting circa 1300 BCE, a new Bronze Age culture flourished around the Alps thanks to the abundance of metal in the region, and laid the foundation for the classical Celtic culture. It was actually the succession of three closely linked culture: the Urnfield culture, which would evolve into the Hallstatt culture (from 1200 BCE) and eventually into the La Tène culture (from 450 BCE).
After the Unetice expansion to Western Europe between 2300 and 1800 BCE, the Urnfield/Hallstatt/La Tène period represents the second major R1b expansion that took place from Central Europe, pushing west to the Atlantic, north to Scandinavia, east to the Danubian valley, and eventually as far away as Greece, Anatolia, Ukraine and Russia, perhaps even until the Tarim basin in north-west China.
The Celtic Iron Age (late Halstatt, from 800 BCE) may have been brought through preserved contacts with the the steppes and the North Caucasus, notably the Koban culture (1100-400 BCE), a late Bronze Age and Iron Age culture of the northern and central Caucasus named after the village of Koban, Northern Ossetia, where in 1869 battle-axes, daggers, decorative items and other objects were discovered in a kurgan.
The Alpine Celts of the Hallstatt culture are associated with the S28 (a.k.a. U152 or PF6570) mutation, although not exclusively. R1b-S28 would have entered Italy in successive waves from the northern side of the Alps, starting in 1700 BCE with the establishment of the Terramare culture in the Po Valley.
From 1200 BCE, a larger group of Hallstatt-derived tribes founded the Villanova culture. This is probably the migration that brought the Italic-speaking tribes to Italy, who would have belonged mainly the Z56 clade of R11b-S28.
During the Iron Age, the expansion of the La Tène culture from Switzerland is associated with the diffusion of the Z36 branch, which would generate the Belgae around modern Belgium and in the Rhineland, the Gauls in France, and the Cisalpine Celts in Italy.
One common linguistic trait between Italic and Gaulish/Brythonic Celtic languages linked to the Hallstatt expansion is that they shifted the original IE *kw sound into *p. They are known to linguists as the P-Celtic branch (as opposed to Q-Celtic).
It is thought that this change occured due to the inability to pronounce the *kw sound by the pre-Indo-European population of Central Europe, Gaul and Italy, who were speakers of Afro-Asiatic dialects that had evolved from Near-Eastern languages inherited from the Neolithic. The Etruscans, although later incomers from the eastern Mediterranean, also fit in this category.
It has recently been acknowledged that Celtic languages borrowed part of their grammar from Afro-Asiatic languages. This shift could have happened when the Proto-Italo-Celtic speakers moved from the steppes to the Danube basin and mixed with the population of Near-Eastern farmers belonging to haplogroups E1b1b, G2a, J and T.
However, such an early shift would not explain why Q-Celtic and Germanic languages did not undergo the same linguistic mutation. It is therefore more plausible that the shift happened after the Proto-Italo-Celts and Proto-Germanics had first expanded across all western and northern Europe. The S28/U152 connection to P-Celtic (and Italic) suggests that the shift took place around the Alps after 1800 BCE, but before the invasion of Italy by the Italic tribes circa 1200 BCE.
The expansion of the Urnfield/Hallstatt culture to Italy is evident in the form of the Villanovan culture (c. 1100-700 BCE), which shared striking resemblances with the Urnfield/Hallstatt sites of Bavaria and Upper Austria. The Villanova culture marks a clean break with the previous Terramare culture.
Although both cultures practised cremation, whereas Terramare people placed cremated remains in communal ossuaries like their Neolithic ancestors from the Near East, Villanovans used distinctive Urnfield-style double-cone shaped funerary urns, and elite graves containing jewellery, bronze armour and horse harness fittings were separated from ordinary graves, showing for the first time the development of a highly hierarchical society, so characteristic of Indo-European cultures.
Quintessential Indo-European decorations, such as swastikas, also make their appearance. Originally a Bronze-age culture, the Villanova culture introduced iron working to the Italian peninsula around the same time as it appeared in the Hallstatt culture, further reinforcing the link between the two cultures.
In all likelihood, the propagation of the Villanova culture represents the Italic colonisation of the Italian peninsula. The highest proportion of R1b-S28 is found precisely where the Villanovans were the more strongly established, around modern Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
The Villanova culture was succeeded by the Etruscan civilisation, which displayed both signs of continuity with Villanova and new hybrid elements of West Asian origins, probably brought by Anatolian settlers (who would have belonged to a blend of haplogroups E1b1b, G2a, J1, J2 and R1b-L23).

Indo-Europeans

The concept that the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures could be seen not just as chronological periods but as “Culture Groups”, entities composed of people of the same ethnicity and language, had started to grow by the end of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century the belief that these “Culture Groups” could be thought of in racial or ethnic terms was strongly held by Gordon Childe whose theory was influenced by the writings of Gustaf Kossinna.
As the 20th century progressed, the racial ethnic interpretation of La Tène culture became much more strongly rooted, and any findings of La Tène culture and flat inhumation cemeteries were directly associated with the Celts and the Celtic language. The Iron Age Hallstatt (c. 800–475 BC) and La Tène (c. 500–50 BC) cultures are typically associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic culture.
In various academic disciplines the Celts were considered a Central European Iron Age phenomenon, through the cultures of Hallstatt and La Tène. However, archaeological finds from the Halstatt and La Tène culture were rare in the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern France, northern and western Britain, southern Ireland and Galatia and did not provide enough evidence for a cultural scenario comparable to that of Central Europe.
It is considered equally difficult to maintain that the origin of the Peninsular Celts can be linked to the preceding Urnfield culture. This has resulted in a more recent approach that introduces a ‘proto-Celtic’ substratum and a process of Celticisation, having its initial roots in the Bronze Age Bell Beaker culture.
Supporters of Gimbutas’ Kurgan model of Indo-European expansion identify both the preceding Baden culture and Vučedol as Indo-European speakers, though no trace of a written language for either can be expected.
A succession of Kurgan ‘waves’ of expansion was set out, the fourth influencing the Vucedol culture of Yugoslavia. This was significant for the further ‘Kurganization’ of Europe by the Bell Beaker people.
As the Beaker culture left no written records, all theories regarding the language or languages they spoke is highly conjectural. It has been suggested as a candidate for an early Indo-European culture; more specifically, an ancestral proto-Celtic.
Mallory has more recently suggested that the Beaker culture was possibly associated with a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed “North-west Indo-European”, ancestral to not only Celtic but equally Italic, Germanic and Balto-Slavic.

Haplogroup R1b

The R1b conquest of Europe happened in two phases. For nearly two millennia, starting from circa 4200 BCE, Steppe people limited their conquest to the rich Chalcolithic civilisations of the Carpathians and the Balkans.
These societies possessed the world’s largest towns, notably the tell settlements of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture. Nothing incited the R1b conquerors to move further into Western Europe at such an early stage, because most of the land north and west of the Alps was still sparsely populated woodland.
The Neolithic did not reach the British Isles and Scandinavia before circa 4000 BCE. Even northern France and most of the Alpine region had been farming or herding for less than a millennium and were still quite primitive compared to Southeast Europe and the Middle East.
North-west Europe remained a tribal society of hunter-gatherers practising only limited agriculture for centuries after the conquest of the Balkans by the Indo-Europeans. Why would our R1b “conquistadors” leave the comfort of the wealthy and populous Danubian civilisations for the harsh living conditions that lie beyond? Bronze Age people coveted tin, copper, and gold, of which the Balkans had plenty, but that no one had yet discovered in Western Europe.
R1b-L51 is thought to have arrived in Central Europe (Hungary, Austria, Bohemia) around 2500 BCE, approximately two millennia after the shift to the Neolithic lifestyle in these regions. Agrarian towns had started to develop. Gold and copper had begun to be mined. The prospects of a conquest were now far more appealing.
A February 2018 study published in Nature included an analysis of three individuals ascribed to the Vučedol culture. One male carried haplogroup R1b1a1a2a2 and T2e, while the other carried G2a2a1a2a and T2c2. The female carried U4a.
Haplogroup R-M269, also known as R1b1a1a2, is a sub-clade of human Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b. It is of particular interest for the genetic history of Western Europe. It is defined by the presence of SNP marker M269. R-M269 has been the subject of intensive research; it was previously also known as R1b1a2 (2003 to 2005), R1b1c (2005 to 2008), and R1b1b2 (2008 to 2011).
R-M269 is the most common European haplogroup, greatly increasing in frequency on an east to west gradient (its prevalence in Poland estimated at 22.7%, compared to Wales at 92.3%). It is carried by approximately 110 million European men (2010 estimate).
The age of the mutation M269 is estimated at roughly 4,000 to 10,000 years ago, and its sub-clades can be used to trace the Neolithic expansion into Europe as well as founder-effects within European populations due to later (Bronze Age and Iron Age) migrations.
The spread of haplogroup R1b-M269 can be traced in western Europe, particularly Britain, to the spread of the Beaker culture, with a sudden appearance of many R1b-M269 haplogroups in Western Europe during the early Bronze Age ca. 3000-2500 BC.
R-M269 has received significant scientific and popular interest due to its possible connection to the Indo-European expansion in Europe. Specifically the R-L23 (R-Z2103) subclade has been found to be prevalent in ancient DNA associated with the Yamna culture. David Anthony considers the Yamna culture to be the Indo-European Urheimat.
It is not yet entirely clear when R1b-M269 crossed over from the South Caucasus to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. This might have happened with the appearance of the Dnieper-Donets culture (5100-4300 BCE). This was the first truly Neolithic society in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.
Domesticated animals (cattle, sheep and goats) were herded throughout the steppes and funeral rituals were elaborate. Sheep wool would play an important role in Indo-European society, notably in the Celtic and Germanic (R1b branches of the Indo-Europeans) clothing traditions up to this day.
However, many elements indicate a continuity in the Dnieper-Donets culture with the previous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and at the same time an influence from the Balkans and Carpathians, with regular imports of pottery and copper objects. It is therefore more likely that Dnieper-Donets marked the transition of indigenous R1a and/or I2a1b people to early agriculture, perhaps with an influx of Near Eastern farmers from ‘Old Europe’.
Over 30 DNA samples from Neolithic Ukraine (5500-4800 BCE) have been tested. They belonged to Y-haplogroups I, I2a2, R1a, R1b1a (L754) and one R1b1a2 (L388). None of them belonged to R1b-M269 or R1b-L23 clades, which dominated during the Yamna period. Mitochondrial lineages were also exclusively of Mesolithic European origin (U4a, U4b, U4d, U5a1, U5a2, U5b2, as well as one J2b1 and one U2e1).
None of those maternal lineages include typical Indo-European haplogroups, like H2a1, H6, H8, H15, I1a1, J1b1a, W3, W4 or W5 that would later show up in the Yamna, Corded Ware and Unetice cultures.
Indeed, autosomally genomes from Neolithic Ukraine were purely Mesolithic European (about 90% EHG and 10% WHG) and completely lacked the Caucasian (CHG) admxiture later found in Yamna and subsequent Indo-European cultures during the Bronze Age.
The first clearly Proto-Indo-European cultures were the Kvalynsk (5200-4500 BCE) and Sredny Stog (4600-3900 BCE) cultures in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. This is when small kurgan burials begin to appear, with the distinctive posturing of the dead on the back with knees raised and oriented toward the northeast, which would be found in later steppe cultures as well.
There is evidence of population blending from the variety of skull shapes. Towards the end of the 5th millennium, an elite starts to develop with cattle, horses and copper used as status symbols. It is at the turn of the Khvalynsk and Sredny Stog periods that R1b-M269’s main subclade, L23, is thought to have appeared, around 4,500 BCE.
99% of Indo-European R1b descends from this L23 clade. The other branch descended from M269 is PF7562, which is found mostly in the Balkans, Turkey and Armenia today, and may represent an early Steppe migration to the Balkans dating from the Sredny Stog period.
Another migration across the Caucasus happened shortly before 3700 BCE, when the Maykop culture (3700-2500 BC), the world’s first Bronze Age society, suddenly materialised in the north-west Caucasus, apparently out of nowhere.
The origins of Maykop are still uncertain, but archeologists have linked it to contemporary Chalcolithic cultures in Assyria and western Iran. Archeology also shows a clear diffusion of bronze working and kurgan-type burials from the Maykop culture to the Pontic Steppe, where the Yamna culture developed soon afterwards (from 3500 BCE).
Maykop was an advanced Bronze Age culture, actually one of the very first to develop metalworking, and therefore metal weapons. The world’s oldest sword was found at a late Maykop grave in Klady kurgan 31. Its style is reminiscent of the long Celtic swords, though less elaborated.
The Yamna and Maykop people both used kurgan burials, placing their deads in a supine position with raised knees and oriented in a north-east/south-west axis. Graves were sprinkled with red ochre on the floor, and sacrificed domestic animal buried alongside humans.
They also had in common horses, wagons, a heavily cattle-based economy with a minority of sheep kept for their wool, use of copper/bronze battle-axes (both hammer-axes and sleeved axes) and tanged daggers. In fact, the oldest wagons and bronze artefacts are found in the North Caucasus, and appear to have spread from there to the steppes.
Kurgan (a.k.a. tumulus) burials would become a dominant feature of ancient Indo-European societies and were widely used by the Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, and Scythians, among others.
 

Bell Beaker culture

The Bell Beaker culture or short Beaker culture, is an archaeological culture named after the inverted-bell beaker drinking vessel used at the very beginning of the European Bronze Age. Arising from around 2800 BC, and lasting in continental Europe until 2300 BC, succeeded by the Unetice culture, in Britain until as late as 1800 BC.
The Bell Beaker culture follows the Corded Ware culture and for north-central Europe the Funnelbeaker culture. The culture was widely scattered throughout Western Europe, from various regions in Iberia and spots facing northern Africa to the Danubian plains, the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, and also the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
As the Beaker culture left no written records, all theories regarding the language or languages they spoke is highly conjectural. It has been suggested as a candidate for an early Indo-European culture; more specifically, an ancestral proto-Celtic.
Mallory has more recently suggested that the Beaker culture was possibly associated with a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed “North-west Indo-European”, ancestral to not only Celtic but equally Italic, Germanic and Balto-Slavic.
In its early phase, the Bell Beaker culture can be seen as the western contemporary of the Corded Ware culture of Central Europe. From about 2400 BC, however, the “Beaker folk” expanded eastwards, into the Corded Ware horizon. In parts of Central and Eastern Europe – as far east as Poland – a sequence occurs from Corded Ware to Bell Beaker.
In a 2015 study published in Nature, the remains of a later Bell Beaker male skeleton from Quedlinburg, Germany dated to 2296–2206 BC were analyzed. The individual was found to be carrying haplogroup R1b1a2a1a2. The study found that the Bell Beakers and people of the Unetice culture had less ancestry from the Yamnaya culture than the earlier Corded Ware culture.
The authors of the study took this to be a sign of a resurgence of the indigenous inhabitants of Western Europe in the aftermath of the Yamnaya expansion. Another 2015 study published in Nature found the people of the Beaker culture to be closely genetically related to the Corded Ware culture, the Unetice culture and the Nordic Bronze Age.
In yet another 2015 study published in Nature, the remains of eight individuals ascribed to the Beaker culture were analyzed. Two individuals were determined to belong to Haplogroup R1, while the remaining six were determined to belong to haplogroup R1b1a2 and various subclades of it. A study published in Nature in February 2018 confirmed that Bell Beaker males carried almost exclusively R1b.
Ancient DNA tests have all confirmed the presence of R1b-L51 (and deeper subclades such as P312 and U152) in Germany from the Bell Beaker period onwards, but none in earlier cultures. German Bell Beaker R1b samples only had about 50% of Yamna autosomal DNA and often possessed Neolithic non-Steppe mtDNA, which confirms that R1b invaders took local wives as they advanced westward.
Another study has confirmed that Iberian Bell Beakers were genetically distinct from the previously tested German samples. None of the Spanish or Portuguese individuals associated with Bell Beaker pottery possessed any Steppe admixture, and none belonged to the Indo-European haplogroup R1b-L23 or its subclades.
Instead they belonged to typical Megalithic lineages like G2a, I2a1, I2a2 and the Neolithic R1b-V88. The paper also confirmed a high frequency of R1b-L51 lineages in central Europe during the Beall Beaker period. In Britain, Megalithic individuals belonged exclusively to Y-haplogroup I2 (mostly I2a2 and I2a1b-L161), but were entirely replaced by R1b-L51 (mosly L21 clade) in the Early Bronze Age.
This means that the Bell Beaker culture was not associated with one particular ethnic group. Beaker pottery originated in Megalithic Iberia, but then spread to France and central Europe and was used by invading R1b-L51 Steppe people, who brought it with them to the British Isles, while wiping out most of the indigenous Megalithic population. There was therefore no ‘Bell Beaker people’, but just various populations trading and using Beaker pots during that period.

Únětice culture

The Únětice culture is an archaeological culture at the start of the Central European Bronze Age, dated roughly to about 2300–1600 BC. The eponymous site for this culture, the village of Únětice, is located in the central Czech Republic, northwest of Prague.
The Únětice culture originated in the territories of contemporary Bohemia. Today, the Únětice culture is known from about 1,400 sites in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 550 sites in Poland, and, in Germany, about 500 sites and loose finds locations. The Únětice culture is also known from north-eastern Austria (in association with the so-called the Böheimkirchen Group), and from western Ukraine.
The famous Sky Disk of Nebra is associated with the Central Germany groups of the Únětice culture. The disk is attributed to a site in present-day Germany near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, and dated by Archaeological association to c. 1600 BC. Researchers suggest the disk is an artifact of the Bronze Age Unetice culture.
The Nebra sky disk features the oldest concrete depiction of the cosmos yet known from anywhere in the world. In June 2013 it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and termed “one of the most important archaeological finds of the twentieth century.”
A 2015 study published in Nature found the people of the Unetice culture to be closely genetically related to the Corded Ware culture, the Beaker culture and the Nordic Bronze Age. In a 2015 study published in Nature, the Y-DNA of three males of the Unetice culture from Esperstedt, Germany and Eulau, Czech Republic, was analyzed. The two individuals of Esperstedt were found to be carrying the haplgroups I2c2 and I2a2, while the individual from Eulau carried haplogroup I2.
The study found that Unetice people, similarly to the contemporary Beaker people, had less ancestry from the Yamnaya culture than the earlier Corded Ware culture. The authors of the study took this to be a sign of a resurgence of the indigenous inhabitants of Western Europe in the aftermath of the Yamnaya expansion.
DNA samples from the Unetice culture (2300-1600 BCE) in Germany, which emerged less than two centuries after the apperance of the first R1b-L51 individuals in the late Bell Beaker Germany, had a slightly higher percentage of Yamna ancestry (60~65%) and of Yamna-related mtDNA lineages, which indicates a migration of both Steppe men and women.
That would explain why archeological artefacts from the Unetice culture are clearly Yamna-related (i.e. Indo-European), as they abruptly introduced new technologies and a radically different lifestyle, while the Bell Beaker culture was in direct continuity with previous Neolithic or Chalcolithic cultures. R1b men may simply have conquered the Bell Beaker people and overthrown the local rulers without obliterating the old culture due to their limited numbers.
Taking the analogy of the Germanic migrations in the Late Antiquity, the R1b invasion of the Bell Beaker period was more alike to that of the Goths, Burgunds and Vandals, who all migrated in small numbers, created new kingdoms within the Roman empire, but adopted Latin language and Roman culture.
In contrast, the Corded Ware and Unetice culture involved large-scale migrations of Steppe people, who imposed their Indo-European language and culture and conquered people, just like the Anglo-Saxons or the Bavarians did in the 5th century.
The cultures that succeeded to Unetice in Central Europe, chronologically the Tumulus culture (1600-1200 BCE), Urnfeld culture (1300-1200 BCE) and Hallstatt culture (1200-750 BCE) cultures remained typically Indo-European.
In 1902, Paul Reinecke distinguished a number of cultural horizons based on research of Bronze Age hoards and tumuli in periods covered by these cultural horizons. Hallstatt A–B are part of the Bronze Age Urnfield culture, while horizons Hallstatt C–D are the type site for the Iron Age Hallstatt culture.
The Hallstatt culture, centered around the Alps, is considered the first classical Celtic culture in Europe. It quickly expanded to France, Britain, Iberia, northern Italy and the Danube valley, probably spreading for the first time Celtic languages, although not bronze technology nor R1b lineages, which had both already spread over much of western Europe during the Bell Beaker period.

Tumulus culture

The Tumulus culture (German: Hügelgräberkultur) dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1600 to 1200 BC). It was the descendant of the Unetice culture. Its heartland was the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture besides Bavaria and Württemberg. It was succeeded by the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture. As the name implies, the Tumulus culture is distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds (tumuli or kurgans).
The Tumulus culture was prevalent during the Bronze Age periods B, C1, and C2. Tumuli have been used elsewhere in Europe from the Stone Age to the Iron Age; the term “Tumulus culture” specifically refers to the South German variant of the Bronze Age. In the table, Ha designates Hallstatt.
The Tumulus culture was eminently a warrior society, which expanded with new chiefdoms eastward into the Carpathian Basin (up to the river Tisza), and northward into Polish and Central European Únětice territories. The culture’s dispersed settlements centred in fortified structures.
Some scholars see Tumulus groups from southern Germany in this context as corresponding to a community that shared an extinct Indo-European linguistic entity, such as the hypothetical Italo-Celtic group that was ancestral to Italic and Celtic.
This particular hypothesis, however, conflicts with suggestions by other Indo-Europeanists. For instance, David W. Anthony suggests that Proto-Italic (and perhaps also Proto-Celtic) speakers could have entered Northern Italy at an earlier stage, from the east (e.g., the Balkan/Adriatic region).

Urnfield culture

The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields.
Over much of Europe, the Urnfield culture followed the Tumulus culture and was succeeded by the Hallstatt culture. Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this area spoke an early form of Celtic, perhaps originally proto-Celtic.

Hallstatt culture

The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western and Central European culture of Late Bronze Age (Hallstatt A, Hallstatt B) from the 12th to 8th centuries BC and Early Iron Age Europe (Hallstatt C, Hallstatt D) from the 8th to 6th centuries BC.
It developed out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed in much of its area by the La Tène culture. It is commonly associated with Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in the Western Hallstatt zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in the eastern Hallstatt zone.
It is named for its type site, Hallstatt, a lakeside village in the Austrian Salzkammergut southeast of Salzburg, where there was a rich salt mine, and some 1,300 burials are known, many with fine artifacts.
Material from Hallstatt has been classified into 4 periods, designated “Hallstatt A” to “D”. Hallstatt A and B are regarded as Late Bronze Age and the terms used for wider areas, such as “Hallstatt culture”, or “period”, “style” and so on, relate to the Iron Age Hallstatt C and D.
Hallstatt A–B are part of the Bronze Age Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 750 BC), a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, often divided into several local cultures within a broader Urnfield tradition, while horizons Hallstatt C–D are the type site for the Iron Age Hallstatt culture.
By the 6th century BC, it had expanded to include wide territories, falling into two zones, east and west, between them covering much of western and central Europe down to the Alps, and extending into northern Italy. Parts of Britain and Iberia are included in the ultimate expansion of the culture.
The culture was based on farming, but metal-working was considerably advanced, and by the end of the period long-range trade within the area and with Mediterranean cultures was economically significant.
Social distinctions became increasingly important, with emerging elite classes of chieftains and warriors, and perhaps those with other skills. Society was organized on a tribal basis, though very little is known about this. Only a few of the largest settlements, like Heuneburg in the south of Germany, were towns rather than villages by modern standards.

La Tène culture

The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from about 450 BCE to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BCE), succeeding the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture without any definite cultural break.
This under the impetus of considerable Mediterranean influence from the Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, the Etruscans, and Golasecca culture (9th – 4th century BC), a Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age culture in northern Italy, whose type-site was excavated at Golasecca in the province of Varese, Lombardy.
Its territorial extent corresponded to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Southern Germany, the Czech Republic, parts of Northern Italy, Slovenia and Hungary, as well as adjacent parts of the Netherlands, Slovakia, Croatia, Transylvania (western Romania), and Transcarpathia (western Ukraine).
The Celtiberians of western Iberia shared many aspects of the culture, though not generally the artistic style. To the north extended the contemporary Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe, including the Jastorf culture of Northern Germany.
Centered on ancient Gaul, the culture became very widespread, and encompasses a wide variety of local differences. It is often distinguished from earlier and neighbouring cultures mainly by the La Tène style of Celtic art, characterized by curving “swirly” decoration, especially of metalwork.
It is named after the type site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, where thousands of objects had been deposited in the lake, as was discovered after the water level dropped in 1857.
La Tène is the type site and the term archaeologists use for the later period of the culture and art of the ancient Celts, a term that is firmly entrenched in the popular understanding, but presents numerous problems for historians and archaeologists.
Linguistic evidence and continuity with the following Hallstatt culture suggests that the people of this area spoke an early form of Celtic, perhaps originally proto-Celtic.

Gaul

Gaul (Latin: Gallia) was a historical region of Western Europe during the Iron Age that was inhabited by Celtic tribes, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, particularly the west bank of the Rhine. It covered an area of 494,000 km2 (191,000 sq mi).
The Greek and Latin names Galatia (first attested by Timaeus of Tauromenium in the 4th century BC) and Gallia are ultimately derived from a Celtic ethnic term or clan Gal(a)-to-. The Galli of Gallia Celtica were reported to refer to themselves as Celtae by Caesar.
Hellenistic folk etymology connected the name of the Galatians to the supposedly “milk-white” skin (gála “milk”) of the Gauls. Modern researchers say it is related to Welsh gallu, Cornish: galloes (“capacity, power”), thus meaning “powerful people”.
The English Gaul is from French Gaule and is unrelated to Latin Gallia, despite superficial similarity. The name Gaul is derived from the Old Frankish *Walholant (via a Latinized form *Walula) literally “Land of the Foreigners/Romans”, in which *Walho- is reflex of Proto-Germanic *walhaz, “foreigner, Romanized person”, an exonym applied by Germanic speakers to Celts and Latin-speaking people indiscriminately, making it cognate with the names Wales, Cornwall, Wallonia, and Wallachia.
The English name Gaul itself is not derived from Latin Galli, but from the Germanic word *Walhaz (see Gaul). The Germanic w- is regularly rendered as gu- / g- in French (cf. guerre “war”, garder “ward”), and the historic diphthong au is the regular outcome of al before a following consonant (cf. cheval ~ chevaux).
French Gaule or Gaulle cannot be derived from Latin Gallia, since g would become j before a (cf. gamba > jambe), and the diphthong au would be unexplained; the regular outcome of Latin Gallia is Jaille in French, which is found in several western place names, such as, La Jaille-Yvon and Saint-Mars-la-Jaille. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae.
Also unrelated, in spite of superficial similarity, is the name Gael. The Irish word gall did originally mean “a Gaul”, i.e. an inhabitant of Gaul, but its meaning was later widened to “foreigner”, to describe the Vikings, and later still the Normans. The dichotomic words gael and gall are sometimes used together for contrast, for instance in the 12th-century book Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib.
As adjectives, English has the two variants: Gaulish and Gallic. The two adjectives are used synonymously, as “pertaining to Gaul or the Gauls”, although the Celtic language or languages spoken in Gaul is predominantly known as Gaulish.
The Gauls of Gallia Celtica according to the testimony of Caesar called themselves Celtae in their own language (as distinct from Belgae and Aquitani), and Galli in Latin. As is not unusual with ancient ethnonyms, these names came to be applied more widely than their original sense, Celtae being the origin of the term Celts itself (in its modern meaning referring to all populations speaking a language of the “Celtic” branch of Indo-European) while Galli is the origin of the adjective Gallic, now referring to all of Gaul.
The Gauls were a group of Celtic peoples of Continental Europe in the Iron Age and the Roman period (roughly from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD). The area they originally inhabited was known as Gaul. Their Gaulish language forms the main branch of the Continental Celtic languages.
The Gauls emerged around the 5th century BC as the bearers of the La Tène culture north of the Alps (spread across the lands between the Seine, Middle Rhine and upper Elbe). By the 4th century BC, they spread over much of what is now France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia by virtue of controlling the trade routes along the river systems of the Rhône, Seine, Rhine, and Danube, and they quickly expanded into Northern Italy, the Balkans, Transylvania and Galatia, an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Ankara and Eskişehir, in modern Turkey.
Gaul was never united under a single ruler or government, but the Gallic tribes were capable of uniting their forces in large-scale military operations. They reached the peak of their power in the early 3rd century BC.
The rising Roman Republic after the end of the First Punic War increasingly put pressure on the Gallic sphere of influence; the Battle of Telamon of 225 BC heralded a gradual decline of Gallic power over the 2nd century, until the eventual conquest of Gaul in the Gallic Wars of the 50s BC.
After this, Gaul became a province of the Roman Empire, and the Gauls culturally adapted to the Roman world, bringing about the formation of the hybrid Gallo-Roman culture. This was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman culture, language, morals and way of life in a uniquely Gaulish context.
There is little written information concerning the peoples that inhabited the regions of Gaul, save what can be gleaned from coins. Therefore, the early history of the Gauls is predominantly a work in archaeology, and the relationships between their material culture, genetic relationships (the study of which has been aided, in recent years, through the field of archaeogenetics) and linguistic divisions rarely coincide.
Gaulish culture developed out of the Celtic cultures over the first millennium BC. The Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – c. 750 BC) represents the Celts as a distinct cultural branch of the Indo-European-speaking people.
The spread of iron working led to the Hallstatt culture in the 8th century BC; the Proto-Celtic language is often thought to have been spoken around this time. The Hallstatt culture evolved into the La Tène culture in around the 5th century BC. The Greek and Etruscan civilizations and colonies began to influence the Gauls especially in the Mediterranean area. Gauls under Brennus invaded Rome circa 390 BC.
By the 5th century BC, the tribes later called Gauls had migrated from Central France to the Mediterranean coast. Gallic invaders settled the Po Valley in the 4th century BC, defeated Roman forces in a battle under Brennus in 390 BC and raided Italy as far as Sicily.
In the early 3rd century BC, the Gauls attempted an eastward expansion, towards the Balkan peninsula, which at that time was a Greek province, with the ultimate goal to reach and loot the rich Greek city-states of the Greek mainland, but the majority of the Gaul army was exterminated by the Greeks and the few Gauls that survived were forced to flee.
A large number of Gauls served in the armies of Carthage during the Punic Wars, and one of the leading rebel leaders of the Mercenary War, Autaritus, was of Gallic origin.
Before the rapid spread of the La Tène culture in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, the territory of eastern and southern France already participated in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture (c. 12th to 8th centuries BC) out of which the early iron-working Hallstatt culture (7th to 6th centuries BC) would develop. By 500 BC, there is strong Hallstatt influence throughout most of France (except for the Alps and the extreme north-west).
Out of this Hallstatt background, during the 7th and 6th century presumably representing an early form of Continental Celtic culture, the La Tène culture arises, presumably under Mediterranean influence from the Greek, Phoenician, and Etruscan civilizations, spread out in a number of early centers along the Seine, the Middle Rhine and the upper Elbe.
By the late 5th century BC, La Tène influence spreads rapidly across the entire territory of Gaul. The La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from 450 BC to the Roman conquest in the 1st century BC) in France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, southwest Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Hungary. Farther north extended the contemporary pre-Roman Iron Age culture of northern Germany and Scandinavia.
In the 4th and early 3rd century BC, Gallic clan confederations expanded far beyond the territory of what would become Roman Gaul (which defines usage of the term “Gaul” today), into Pannonia, Illyria, northern Italy, Transylvania and even Asia Minor.
By the 2nd century BC, the Romans described Gallia Transalpina as distinct from Gallia Cisalpina. In his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar distinguishes among three ethnic groups in Gaul: the Belgae in the north (roughly between the Rhine and the Seine), the Celtae in the center and in Armorica, and the Aquitani in the southwest, the southeast being already colonized by the Romans.
While some scholars believe the Belgae south of the Somme were a mixture of Celtic and Germanic elements, their ethnic affiliations have not been definitively resolved. One of the reasons is political interference upon the French historical interpretation during the 19th century.
In addition to the Gauls, there were other peoples living in Gaul, such as the Greeks and Phoenicians who had established outposts such as Massilia (present-day Marseille) along the Mediterranean coast. Also, along the southeastern Mediterranean coast, the Ligures had merged with the Celts to form a Celto-Ligurian culture.

Bastarnae

The Pomeranian culture has been sometimes associated with the Bastarnae, an ancient people who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the Carpathian Mountains and the river Dnieper, to the north and east of ancient Dacia.
The original homeland of the Bastarnae remains uncertain. Babeş and Shchukin argue in favour of an origin in eastern Pomerania on the Baltic coast of northwestern Poland, on the grounds of correspondences in archaeological material e.g. a Pomeranian-style fibula found in a Poieneşti site in Moldavia.
Batty argues that Greco-Roman sources of the 1st century AD locate the Bastarnae homeland on the northern side of the Northern Carpathian mountain range, encompassing south-east Poland and south-west Ukraine (i.e. the region traditionally known as Galicia). Pliny locates the Bastarnae between the Suebi and the Dacians (contermini Dacis).
The Peutinger Map (produced ca. 400 AD, but including material from as early as the 1st century) shows the Bastarnae (mis-spelt Blastarni) north of the Carpathian mountains and appears to name the Galician Carpathians as the Alpes Bastarnicae.
From Galicia, the Bastarnae expanded into the Moldavia and Bessarabia regions, reaching the Danube Delta. Strabo describes the Bastarnae as inhabiting the territory “between the Ister (the Danube) and the Borysthenes (the Dnieper)”. He identifies three sub-tribes of the Bastarnae: the Atmoni, Sidoni and Peucini. The latter derived their name from Peuce, a large island in the Danube Delta which they had colonised.
The 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy states that the Carpiani or Carpi (believed to have occupied Moldavia) separated the Peucini from the other Bastarnae “above Dacia” (i.e. north of Dacia). It thus appears that the Bastarnae were settled in a vast arc stretching around the northern and eastern flanks of the Carpathians from south-east Poland to the Danube Delta.
The larger group inhabited the northern and eastern slopes of the Carpathians and the region between the Prut and Dnieper rivers (modern-day Moldova/western Ukraine), while a separate group (the Peucini, Sidoni and Atmoni) dwelt in and north of the Danube Delta region.
Scholars hold divergent theories about the ethnicity of the Bastarnae. One view, following what appears to be the most authoritative view among earliest scholars, is that they spoke a Celtic language. However others hold that they were Scythian/Germanic, or mixed Germanic/Sarmatian.
A fringe theory is that they were Proto-Slavic. Shchukin argues that the ethnicity of the Bastarnae was unique and rather than trying to label the Bastanae as Celtic, Germanic or Sarmatian, it should be accepted that the “Basternae were the Basternae”.
Batty argues that assigning an “ethnicity” to the Bastarnae is meaningless; as in the context of the Iron Age Pontic-Danubian region, with its multiple overlapping peoples and languages, ethnicity was a very fluid concept: it could and did change rapidly and frequently, according to socio-political vicissitudes. This was especially true of the Bastarnae, who are attested over a relatively vast area.
The ethno-linguistic affiliation of the Bastarnae was probably Celtic, which is supported by the earliest historians. However, later historical sources imply a Germanic or Scytho-Sarmatian origin. Often they are associated with the Germans, or the peoples “between the Celts and the Germans”.
The most likely scenario is that they were originally a Celtic tribe, originally resident in the lower Vistula River valley. Around 200 BC, these tribes migrated, possibly accompanied by some Germanic elements, south-eastwards into the North Pontic region. Some elements appear to have become assimilated, to some extent, by the surrounding Sarmatians by the 3rd century.
Although largely sedentary, some elements may have adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle. So far, no archaeological sites have been conclusively attributed to the Bastarnae. The archaeological horizons most often associated by scholars with the Bastarnae are the Zarubintsy and Poienesti-Lukashevka cultures.
According to Malcolm Todd, traditional archaeology has not been able to construct a typology of Bastarnae material culture, and thus to ascribe particular archaeological sites to the Bastarnae. A complicating factor is that the regions where Bastarnae are attested contained a patchwork of peoples and cultures (Sarmatians, Scythians, Dacians, Thracians, Celts, Germans and others), some sedentary, some nomadic. In any event, post-1960s archaeological theory has questioned the validity of equating material “cultures”, as defined by archaeologists, with distinct ethnic groups.
In this view, it is impossible to attribute a “culture” to a particular ethnic group: it is likely that the material cultures discerned in the region belonged to several, if not all, of the groups inhabiting it. These cultures probably represent relatively large-scale socio-economic interactions between disparate communities of the broad region, possibly including mutually antagonistic groups.
It is not even certain whether the Bastarnae were sedentary, nomadic or semi-nomadic. Tacitus’ statement that they were “German in their way of life and types of dwelling” implies a sedentary bias, but their close relations with the Sarmatians, who were nomadic, may indicate a more nomadic lifestyle for some Bastarnae, as does their attested wide geographical range.
If the Bastarnae were nomadic, then the sedentary “cultures” identified by archaeologists in their lebensraum would not represent them. Nomadic peoples generally leave scant traces, due to the impermanent materials and foundations used in the construction of their dwellings.
Scholars have identified two closely related sedentary “cultures” as possible candidates to represent the Bastarnae (among other peoples) as their locations broadly correspond to where ancient sources placed the Basternae: the Zarubintsy culture lying in the forest-steppe zone in northern Ukraine and southern Belarus, and the Poieneşti-Lukashevka culture (Lucăşeuca) in northern Moldavia.
These cultures were characterised by agriculture, documented by numerous finds of sickles. Dwellings were either of surface or semi-subterranean types, with posts supporting the walls, a hearth in the middle and large conical pits located nearby. Some sites were defended by ditches and banks, structures thought to have been built to defend against nomadic tribes from the steppe.
Inhabitants practiced cremation. Cremated remains were either placed in large, hand-made ceramic urns, or were placed in a large pit and surrounded by food and ornaments such as spiral bracelets and Middle to Late La Tène-type fibulae (attesting the continuing strength of Celtic influence in this region).
A major problem with associating the Poieneşti-Lukashevka and Zarubintsy cultures with the Bastarnae is that both cultures had disappeared by the early 1st century AD, while the Bastarnae continue to be attested in those regions throughout the Roman Principate.
Another issue is that the Poieneşti-Lukashevka culture has also been attributed to the Costoboci, a people considered ethnically Dacian by mainstream scholarship, who inhabited northern Moldavia, according to Ptolemy (ca. 140 AD).
Indeed, Mircea Babeş and Silvia Theodor, the two Romanian archaeologists who identified Lukashevka as Bastarnic, nevertheless insisted that the majority of the population in the Lukashevka sphere (in northern Moldavia) was “Geto-Dacian”.
A further problem is that neither of these cultures were present in the Danube Delta region, where a major concentration of Bastarnae are attested by the ancient sources.
Starting in about 200 AD, the Chernyakhov culture became established in the modern-day western Ukraine and Moldova region inhabited by the Bastarnae. The culture is characterised by a high degree of sophistication in the production of metal and ceramic artefacts, as well as of uniformity over a vast area.
Although this culture has conventionally been identified with the migration of the Gothic ethnos into the region from the northwest, Todd argues that its most important origin is Scytho-Sarmatian. Although the Goths certainly contributed to it, so probably did other peoples of the region such as the Dacians, proto-Slavs, Carpi and possibly the Bastarnae.
The Bastarnae first came into conflict with the Romans during the 1st century BC when, in alliance with Dacians and Sarmatians, they unsuccessfully resisted Roman expansion into Moesia and Pannonia. Later, they appear to have maintained friendly relations with the Roman Empire during the first two centuries AD.
This changed c. 180, when the Bastarnae are recorded as participants in an invasion of Roman territory, once again in alliance with Sarmatian and Dacian elements. In the mid-3rd century, the Bastarnae were part of a Gothic-led grand coalition of lower Danube tribes that repeatedly invaded the Balkan provinces of the Roman Empire.

Celts in Antiquity

The first Celtic people arrived in Poland from Bohemia and Moravia around or after 400 BCE, just a few decades after their La Tène culture emerged. They formed several enclaves mostly in the southern part of the country, within the Pomeranian or Lusatian populations or in areas abandoned by those peoples. The cultures or groups that were Celtic or had a Celtic element in them (mixed Celtic and autochthonous) lasted at their furthest extent to 170 CE (Púchov culture).
After the Celts appeared and during their tenure (they always remained a small minority only), the bulk of the population had begun acquiring the traits of archaeological cultures with a dominant Proto-Germanic or Germanic component. In Europe, the expansion of Rome and the pressures exerted by Germanic peoples checked and reversed the Celtic expansion.
Initially, two groups established themselves on fertile grounds in Silesia: one on the left bank of the Oder River south of Wrocław, in the area that included Mount Ślęża; the other around the Głubczyce highlands. Both these groups stayed in their respective regions during the period 400–120 BCE.
Burials and other significant Celtic sites in Głubczyce County have been investigated in Kietrz and nearby Nowa Cerekwia. The Ślęża group eventually assimilated into the local population, while the one in the Głubczyce highlands apparently migrated south. More-recent discoveries include Celtic settlements in Wrocław County, such as, in Wojkowice, the well-preserved 3rd-century-BCE grave of a woman with bronze and iron bracelets, brooches, rings, and chains.
A century or more later, two more groups arrived and settled the upper San River basin (270–170 BC) and the Kraków area. The latter group, together with the local population that was at about that time developing the characteristics of the Przeworsk culture (see the next section), formed the mixed Tyniec group, which existed 270–30 BCE.
The Tyniec group’s era of dominance was c. 80–70 BCE, when the existing settlements received Celtic reinforcements from the more southerly populations that were being displaced from Slovakia by the Dacians.[9] In the 1st century BCE, another small group settled in future Poland, probably much further north, in Kujawy.
Finally, there was the long-lasting (270 BCE–170 CE) mixed Púchov culture, whom Roman sources associated with the Celtic Cotini, whose northern reaches included parts of the Beskids mountain range and even the Kraków area. Ancient Celtic agriculture was advanced. Celtic farmers used plows with iron shares and fertilized fields with animal manure. Their livestock consisted of selected breeds, especially sheep and large cattle.
The Celts who settled in future Poland brought with them and disseminated various achievements of La Tène culture, including a variety of tools and other inventions. One of them was the rotational quern, which had a stationary lower stone and an upper one rotated by a lever. They also introduced iron furnaces to Poland.
Iron was obtained in greater quantities from locally available turf ores; its metallurgy and processing were improved, resulting in the manufacture of stronger and more-resistant tools and weapons. Makers of ceramics used the potter’s wheel and (especially the Tyniec group) produced with great precision thin-walled painted vessels, among the best in Europe. Domed bilevel furnaces were used; pots were placed on a perforated clay shelf, with the hearth beneath. The Celts also produced glass and enamel, and they processed gold and semi-precious stones for jewelry.
The Celtic communities maintained extensive trade contacts with the Greek cities, Etruria, and then Rome. They were involved in the amber trade between the Baltic and Adriatic seas, but amber was also worked in local shops. In the 1st century BCE, coins of gold and silver, in addition to the more common metals, were used and minted around Kraków and elsewhere.
In Gorzów near Oświęcim, a treasure of Celtic coins was discovered. Original Celtic art found its expression in numerous designs that incorporated plant, animal, and anthropomorphic motifs. These various Celtic achievements were adopted by the native populations, but usually with considerable delay.
The settlement in Nowa Cerekwia was active from the beginning of 4th to the end of the 2nd century BCE. One hundred people lived in over 20 houses supported by pillars, with walls made of beams, finished with clay and painted.
Although Celtic settlements in Poland were established at various elevations, they had no defensive reinforcements. After the Celts abandoned the area, the Nowa Cerekiew settlement remained uninhabited for 150 years before being reoccupied by the Przeworsk culture people and later the Slavs.
Objects recently found at Nowa Cerekiew include a collection of gold and silver coins minted by the Boii tribe (3rd–2nd century BCE), Greek coins from Sicily and other colonies, and various metal decorative items.
Clay containers, jewelry, and tools have been recovered in the past. Nowa Cerekiew was a major Celtic trade and political center, one of the very few in central Europe, a source of great profits and the northernmost of their Amber Road stations.
Among the most significant Celtic finds in Lesser Poland are the extensive and wealthy settlement in Podłęże and its associated cemetery in Zakrzowiec, both in Wieliczka County; and a multi-period settlement complex in Aleksandrowice, Kraków County.
The Podłęże site was occupied from the mid-3rd century BCE onward and yielded many metal objects, coins and blank coin molds, and a large collection of glass bracelets. The Celtic graves at Zakrzowiec are dugout rectangular enclosures several meters long that contain ashes and grave offerings such as pottery and personal ornaments.
Graves of the same type but of a later period, 1st–2nd century CE, are also found around Kraków, demonstrating the continuation of Celtic traditions even after the arrival of Germanic tribes in the area.
The Celtic burial site investigated in Aleksandrowice contains a rich 2nd-century-BCE assemblage of funerary gifts, including iron weapons. The unique elaborate designs of these items, including a scabbard with a recurring dragon motif, have been found only in the areas of Celtic settlement in Slovenia and western Croatia.
Within the realm of Celtic spiritual life, there was considerable variation. Fourth- and early-third-century BCE burials in Wrocław and Ślęża region are skeletal. Sometimes a man and a woman were buried together, suggesting the known Celtic practice of sacrificing a wife during her husband’s funeral, but women were usually buried separately, with their jewelry.
Some of the dead were given meat and a knife for cutting it. From the 3rd century BCE onward, bodies were cremated, which was also the case in all of the Lesser Poland burials. The graves of Celtic warriors (3rd century BCE) in Iwanowice,_Kraków_County contain a very rich assortment of weapons and ornaments.
The Mount Ślęża formation is believed by many to have been a place of exceptional cult significance, over many centuries, possibly going back all the way to the Lusatian times, but especially for the Celts. In the early 11th century, the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg describes the mountain as a place of adoration because of its size and the “cursed” pagan ceremonies carried out there.
The summits of this and of neighboring mountains are circled by standing stones and monumental sculptures. Diagonal cross signs found on many of the stone objects may have had their origin in the Hallstatt–Lusatian solar cult. Such signs can also be seen on the massive “monk” sculpture (which actually is more like a simple chess figure or skittles pin), which was located inside the largest stone ring on Mount Ślęża itself and is therefore believed to originate from Hallstatt cultural circles.
The stone rings also contain fragments of Lusatian ceramics. The younger sculptures (“Maiden with a fish”, “Mushroom,” and bear figures) have their distant counterparts in the Celtic art of the Iberian Peninsula and are thought to be the work of the Celts, who further developed Ślęża as a cultic center. The Mount Ślęża cult was probably revived by the Slavs, who arrived in the early Middle Ages.
Celts
Celtic
proto-Celtic
Unetice culture
Tumulus culture
Urnfield culture
Hallstatt culture
La Tène culture

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Celtic Cross

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Brigantia/Brigid

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map400celtmap

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Hallstatt og La Tène kulturene:

Yellow: Hallstatt (HaC, 800 BC)
Light Yellow: Hallstatt Influence (HaD, 500 BC)
Green: La Tène Culture (450 BC)
Light Green: La Tène Influence (250 BC)

Celtic Tribes in La Tène Period
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Hallstatt Culture

File:UrnfieldCulture.jpg

Urnfield Culture

File:Celts in III century BC.jpg

Celtic Expansion 300 BC

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