La Tène culture

Overview of the La Tène Culture
– European Iron Age culture
– Flourished from 450 BC to 1st century BC
– Succeeded the Hallstatt culture
– Influenced by the Greeks, Etruscans, and Golasecca culture
– Artistic style not dependent on Mediterranean influences

Territorial Extent and Influences
– Spread across France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, England, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine
– Shared aspects of culture with Celtiberians in Iberia
– Influenced Pre-Roman Iron Age cultures in Northern Europe
– Wide variety of local differences within the La Tène culture
– Characterized by curving swirly decoration in Celtic art

Periodization and Chronology
– Extensive trade contacts with foreign cultures
– Greek pottery and scientific techniques used for dating
– Disruption and influence of Roman occupation
– Debate over linguistic links and social-political structures
– Archaeological period divided into four sub-periods

Development and Centers of the La Tène Culture
– Developed on the northwest edges of the Hallstatt culture
– Centered on Gaul, with influence in Alsace and Bavaria
– Prototypical ensemble of elite grave sites found in Hesse, Germany
– Type site located at La Tène near Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland
– Trade with Greeks and establishment of Massalia colony in France

Expansion and Decline of the La Tène Culture
– Expanded to France, Germany, Central Europe, Hispania, Italy, Balkans, and Asia Minor
– Insular La Tène art found in parts of Britain and Ireland
– Decline in Mediterranean trade and increasing conflicts with established populations
– Celts sacked Rome in 387 BCE
– La Tène homelands became unstable and prone to wars

Ethnology (subtopic)
– La Tène culture associated with Celts and Gauls
– Continental Celtic culture reconstructed from epigraphy and archaeological evidence
– Greek and Roman authors identified Keltoi (Celts) and Galli (Gauls) as La Tène culture bearers
– Language, material culture, and political affiliation not always parallel
– Burial customs and artistic expressions varied among local groups

Material Culture
– La Tène metalwork characterized by intricate spirals and interlace
– Stylistic shift from static, geometric decoration to movement-based forms
– La Tène dwellings were carpenter-built, not masonry
– Ritual shafts used for votive offerings and human sacrifices
– Trade network extended to Mediterranean cultures, Scandinavia, and the Balkans

Type Site
– La Tène type site located on the northern shore of Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland
– Discovery of wooden piles and iron swords in the lake
– Interpretations include Celtic village, armory, and ritual deposition site
– Excavation revealed bridges, houses, and numerous metal objects
– Site used from the 3rd century BCE, with peak activity around 200 BCE

– Various oppidum (hillfort) sites in Germany, France, Austria, Slovakia, and Switzerland
– Illustrations of fortifications, sanctuaries, and farmsteads
– Siege of Avaricum depicted
– Exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of La Tène site discovery

– Notable La Tène artifacts include the Mšecké Žehrovice Head and Glauberg warrior sculpture
– Chariot burial found at La Gorge Meillet
– Battersea Shield from Britain
– Category: Celtic art contains more examples of La Tène artifacts

Artifacts and Burials (subtopic)
– Yutz Flagons from the 5th century
– Agris Helmet with gold covering from around 350 BCE
– Waldalgesheim chariot burial in Germany from the late 4th century BCE
– Gold-and-bronze model of an oak tree from the 3rd century BCE
– Examination of 45 individuals buried at a La Tène necropolis in Urville-Nacqueville, France in December 2018

Genetic Studies
– mtDNA of the examined individuals belonged primarily to haplotypes of H and U
– Significant gene flow with Great Britain and Iberia was detected
– Genetic study in October 2019 found strong genetic resemblance to peoples of earlier cultures
– Paternal lineages were characterized by haplogroup R and R1b, associated with steppe ancestry
– Genetic study in June 2020 identified various Y-DNA and mtDNA lineages associated with La Tène culture

Genetic Continuity
– Genetic study in April 2022 found strong genetic continuity between Bronze Age and Iron Age France
– Samples from northern and southern France were highly homogeneous
– Northern samples displayed links to Great Britain and Sweden, while southern samples showed links to Celtiberians
– Gauls of the La Tène culture largely evolved from local Bronze Age populations
– Iron Age samples resembled those of modern-day populations of France, Great Britain, and Spain

– Remains of a water reservoir from Vladař, Czech Republic, 400 BC
– Bibracte oppidum with a monumental basin
– Gallic house interior
– Stone stele from Germany, around 400 BC
– Various digital reconstructions of La Tène oppida

Related Topics
– Archaeology of Northern Europe
– Iron Age Britain
– Iron Age Iberia
– Jublains archaeological site
– Various scholarly references and sourcesSources: