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.[1] 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.[1][2]

Urnfield culture
UrnfieldCulture
Geographical rangeEurope
PeriodBronze Age Europe
Datesc. 1300 — c. 750 BC
Major sitesBurgstallkogel (Sulm valley)
Preceded byTumulus culture
Followed byHallstatt culture, Proto-Villanovan culture
Chariot spread
Approximate historical map of the spread of the spoke-wheeled chariot, 2000–500 BC

Chronology

It is believed that in some areas, such as in southwestern Germany, the Urnfield culture was in existence around 1200 BC (beginning of Hallstatt A or Ha A), but the Bronze D Riegsee-phase already contains cremations. As the transition from the middle Bronze Age to the Urnfield culture was gradual, there are questions regarding how to define it.

The Urnfield culture covers the phases Hallstatt A and B (Ha A and B) in Paul Reinecke's chronological system, not to be confused with the Hallstatt culture (Ha C and D) of the following Iron Age. This corresponds to the Phases Montelius III-IV of the Northern Bronze Age. Whether Reinecke's Bronze D is included varies according to author and region.

The Urnfield culture is divided into the following sub-phases (based on Müller-Karpe sen.):

date BC
BzD 1300–1200
Ha A1 1200–1100
Ha A2 1100–1000
HaB1 1000–800
HaB2 900–800
Ha B3 800–750

The existence of the Ha B3-phase is contested, as the material consists of female burials only. As can be seen by the arbitrary 100-year ranges, the dating of the phases is highly schematic. The phases are based on typological changes, which means that they do not have to be strictly contemporaneous across the whole distribution. All in all, more radiocarbon and dendro-dates would be highly desirable.

Origin

The Urnfield culture grew from the preceding tumulus culture.[1] The transition is gradual, in the pottery as well as the burial rites.[1] In some parts of Germany, cremation and inhumation existed simultaneously (facies Wölfersheim). Some graves contain a combination of tumulus-culture pottery and Urnfield swords (Kressbronn, Bodenseekreis) or tumulus culture incised pottery together with early Urnfield types (Mengen). In the North, the Urnfield culture was only adopted in the HaA2 period. 16 pins deposited in a swamp in Ellmoosen (Kr. Bad Aibling, Germany) cover the whole chronological range from Bronze B to the early Urnfield period (Ha A). This demonstrates a considerable ritual continuity. In the Loire, Seine and Rhône, certain fords contain deposits from the late Neolithic onwards up to the Urnfield period.

The origins of the cremation rite are commonly believed to be in Hungary, where it was widespread since the first half of the second millennium BC.[3] The neolithic Cucuteni–Trypillia culture of modern-day northeastern Romania and Ukraine were also practicing cremation rituals as early as approximately 5500 BC. Some cremations begin to be found in the Proto-Lusatian and Trzciniec culture.

Distribution and local groups

Europe late bronze age
Europe in the late Bronze Age.

The Urnfield culture was located in an area stretching from western Hungary to eastern France, from the Alps to near the North Sea. Local groups, mainly differentiated by pottery, include:

South-German Urnfield culture

Lower-Rhine Urnfield culture

  • Lower Hessian Group
  • North-Netherlands-Westphalian group
  • Northwest-Group in the Dutch Delta region

Middle-Danube Urnfield culture

Sometimes the distribution of artifacts belonging to these groups shows sharp and consistent borders, which might indicate some political structures, like tribes. Metalwork is commonly of a much more widespread distribution than pottery and does not conform to these borders. It may have been produced at specialised workshops catering for the elite of a large area.

Important French cemeteries include Châtenay and Lingolsheim (Alsace). An unusual earthwork was constructed at Goloring near Koblenz in Germany.

Related cultures

Vaso biconico da chiusi, poggio renzo, IX-VIII sec. ac.
Villanovan cinerary urn from Chiusi, 9th-8th century BC.

The central European Lusatian culture forms part of the Urnfield tradition, but continues into the Iron Age without a notable break.

The Piliny culture in northern Hungary and Slovakia grew from the Tumulus culture, but used urn burials as well. The pottery shows strong links to the Gáva culture, but in the later phases, a strong influence of the Lusatian culture is found. In Italy the late Bronze Age Canegrate and Proto-Villanovan cultures and the early Iron Age Villanovan culture show similarities with the urnfields of central Europe. Urnfields are found in the French Languedoc and Catalonia from the 9th to 8th centuries. The change in burial custom was most probably influenced by developments further east.

The Golasecca culture in northern Italy developed with continuity from the Canegrate culture.[2][4] Canegrate represented a completely new cultural dynamic to the area expressed in pottery and bronzework, making it a typical western example of the Urnfield culture, in particular the Rhine-Switzerland-Eastern France (RSFO) Urnfield culture.[2][4] The Lepontic Celtic language inscriptions of the area show the language of the Golasecca culture was clearly Celtic making it probable that the 13th-century BC language of at least the RSEF area of the western urnfields was also Celtic or a precursor to it.[2][4]

Placename evidence has also been used to point to an association of the Urnfield materials with a Proto-Celtic language group in central Europe, and it has been argued that it was the ancestral culture of the Celts.[5] The Urnfield layers of the Hallstatt culture, Ha A and Ha B, are succeeded by the Iron Age "Hallstatt period" proper (Ha C and Ha D, 8th-6th centuries BC), associated with the early Celts; Ha D is in turn succeeded by the La Tène culture, the archaeological culture associated with the Continental Celts of antiquity.

The influence of the Urnfield culture spread widely and found its way to the northeastern Iberian coast, where the nearby Celtiberians of the interior adapted it for use in their cemeteries.[6] Evidence for east-to-west early Urnfield (Bronze D-Hallstatt A) elite contacts such as rilled-ware, swords and crested helmets has been found in the southwest of the Iberian peninsula.[7] The appearance of such elite status markers provides the simplest explanation for the spread of Celtic languages in this area from prestigious, proto-Celtic, early-Urnfield metalworkers.[7]

Migrations

The numerous hoards of the Urnfield culture and the existence of fortified settlements (hill forts) were taken as evidence for widespread warfare and upheaval by some scholars. Written sources describe several collapses and upheavals in the Eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia and the Levant around the time of the Urnfield origins:

Some scholars, among them Wolfgang Kimmig and P. Bosch-Gimpera have postulated a Europe-wide wave of migrations. The so-called Dorian invasion of Greece was placed in this context as well (although more recent evidence suggests that the Dorians moved in 1100 BC into a post Mycenaean vacuum, rather than precipitating the collapse). Better methods of dating have shown that these events are not as closely connected as once thought. [citation needed]

More recently Robert Drews, after having reviewed and dismissed the migration hypothesis, has suggested that the observed cultural associations may be in fact partly explained as the result of a new kind of warfare based upon the slashing Naue II sword,[8] and with bands of infantry replacing chariots in warfare. Drews suggests that the political instability that this brought to centralised states based upon maryannu chariotry caused the breakdown of these polities.

Settlements

Burgstallkogel Sulm valley
Site of a hill fort, Urnfield Culture, Burgstallkogel (Sulm valley)

The number of settlements increased sharply in comparison with the preceding tumulus culture. Unfortunately, few have been comprehensively excavated. Fortified settlements, often on hilltops or in river-bends, are typical for the Urnfield culture. They are heavily fortified with dry-stone or wooden ramparts. Excavations of open settlements are rare, but they show that large 3-4 aisled houses built with wooden posts and wall of wattle and daub were common. Pit dwellings are known as well; they might have served as cellars.

Open settlements

Heunischenburg vorne b
Heunischenburg fortification

The houses were one or two-aisled. Some were quite small, 4.5 m × 5 m at the Runder Berg (Urach, Germany), 5-8m long in Künzig (Bavaria, Germany), others up to 20 m long. They were built with wooden posts and walls of wattle and daub. At the Velatice-settlement of Lovčičky (Moravia, Czech Republic) 44 houses have been excavated. Large bell shaped storage pits are known from the Knovíz-culture. The settlement of Radonice (Louny) contained over 100 pits. They were most probably used to store grain and demonstrate a considerable surplus-production.

Pfahlbauten Bodensee -- Steinzeitdorf (7644121684)
Reconstruction of a pile dwelling settlement at Unteruhldingen on Lake Constance in southern Germany

Pile dwellings

On lakes of southern Germany and Switzerland, numerous pile dwellings were constructed. They consist either of simple one-room houses made of wattle and daub, or log-built. The settlement at Zug, Switzerland, was destroyed by fire and gives important insights into the material culture and the settlement organisation of this period. It has yielded a number of dendro-dates as well.

Fortified settlements

Fortified hilltop settlements become common in the Urnfield period. Often a steep spur was used, where only part of the circumference had to be fortified. Depending on the locally available materials, dry-stone walls, gridded timbers filled with stones or soil or plank and palisade type pfostenschlitzmauer fortifications were used. Other fortified settlements used rivers-bends and swampy areas.

At the hill fort of Hořovice near Beroun (CR), 50 ha were surrounded by a stone wall. Most settlements are much smaller. Metal working is concentrated in the fortified settlements. On the Runder Berg near Urach, Germany, 25 stone moulds have been found.

Hillforts are interpreted as central places. Some scholars see the emergence of hill forts as a sign of increased warfare. Most hillforts were abandoned at the end of the Bronze Age.

As far as we know, there are no special dwellings for an upper class, but few settlements have been excavated to any extent. In the Franche-Comté, caves were used as dwellings, perhaps in times of trouble.

Examples of fortified settlements include the Heunischenburg, Bullenheimer Berg, Bernstorf, Hesselberg, Bürgstadter Berg, Schellenburg, Farrenberg (all in Germany), the Oberleiserberg in Austria, Plešivec in the Czech Republic, and Corneşti-Iarcuri in Romania.

Material culture

Urnfield culture 001
Urnfield pottery
Urnenfelder panoply
Urnfield weapons
Cuirasses Marmesse
Bronze cuirasses from Marmesse in France

Pottery

The pottery is normally well made, with a smooth surface and a normally sharply carinated profile. Some forms are thought to imitate metal prototypes. Biconical pots with cylindrical necks are especially characteristic. There is some incised decoration, but a large part of the surface was normally left plain. Fluted decoration is common. In the Swiss pile dwellings, the incised decoration was sometimes inlaid with tin foil. Pottery kilns were already known (Elchinger Kreuz, Bavaria), as is indicated by the homogeneous surface of the vessels as well. Other vessels include cups of beaten sheet-bronze with riveted handles (type Jenišovice) and large cauldrons with cross attachments. Wooden vessels have only been preserved in waterlogged contexts, for example from Auvernier (Neuchâtel), but may have been quite widespread.

Tools and weapons

The early Urnfield period (1300 BC) was a time when the warriors of central Europe could be heavily armored with body armor, helmets and shields all made of bronze, most likely borrowing the idea from Mycenaean Greece[9]

The leaf-shaped Urnfield sword could be used for slashing, in contrast to the stabbing-swords of the preceding tumulus culture. It commonly possessed a ricasso. The hilt was normally made from bronze as well. It was cast separately and consisted of a different alloy. These solid hilted swords were known since Bronze D (Rixheim swords). Other swords have tanged blades and probably had a wood, bone, or antler hilt. Flange-hilted swords had organic inlays in the hilt. Swords include Auvernier, Kressborn-Hemigkofen, Erbenheim, Möhringen, Weltenburg, Hemigkofen and Tachlovice-types.

Protective gear like shields, cuirasses, greaves and helmets are extremely rare and almost never found in burials. The best-known example of a bronze shield comes from Plzeň in Bohemia and has a riveted handhold. Comparable pieces have been found in Germany, Western Poland, Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland. They are supposed to have been made in upper Italy or the Eastern Alps and imitate wooden shields. Irish bogs have yielded examples of leather shields (Clonbrinn, Co. Wexford). Bronze cuirasses are known since Bronze D (Čaka, grave II, Slovakia). Complete bronze cuirasses have been found in Saint Germain du Plain, nine examples, one inside the other, in Marmesse, Haute Marne (France), fragments in Albstadt-Pfeffingen (Germany). Bronze dishes (phalerae) may have been sewn on a leather armour. Greaves of richly decorated sheet-bronze are known from Kloštar Ivanić (Croatia) and the Paulus cave near Beuron (Germany).

Chariots

Kesselwagen von Acholshausen — Exponat in der Archäologischen Staatssammlung München
Miniature bronze wagon from Acholshausen in Germany.
Radanhaenger-edited
Bronze wheel pendants, Zürich, c. 1550–1000 BC.
Speyer-2009-historisches-museum-142
Bronze wheels from Hassloch in Germany, 900-800 BC
Spoked wheel from Arokalja
Bronze chariot wheel from Arokalja in Romania, with water bird decoration.

About a dozen wagon-burials of four wheeled wagons with bronze fittings are known from the early Urnfield period. They include Hart an der Altz (Kr. Altötting), Mengen (Kr. Sigmaringen), Poing (Kr. Ebersberg), Königsbronn (Kr. Heidenheim) from Germany and St. Sulpice (Vaud), Switzerland. In Alz, the chariot had been placed on the pyre, pieces of bone are attached to the partially melted metal of the axles. Bronze (one-part) bits appear at the same time. Two-part horse bits are only known from late Urnfield contexts and may be due to eastern influence. Wood- and bronze spoked wheels are known from Stade (Germany), a wooden spoked wheel from Mercurago, Italy. Wooden dish-wheels have been excavated at Corcelettes, Switzerland and the Wasserburg Buchau, Germany (diameter 80 cm).

In Milavče near Domažlice, Bohemia, a four-wheeled miniature bronze wagon bearing a large cauldron (diameter 30 cm) contained a cremation. This exceptionally rich burial was covered by a barrow. The wagon from Acholshausen (Bavaria) comes from a male burial.

Such wagons are known from the Nordic Bronze Age as well. The Skallerup wagon, Denmark, contained a cremation as well. At Pekatel (Kr. Schwerin) in Mecklenburg a cauldron-wagon and other rich grave goods accompanied an inhumation under a barrow (Montelius III/IV). Another example comes from Ystad in Sweden. South-eastern European examples include Kanya in Hungary and Orăştie in Romania. Clay miniature wagons, sometimes with waterfowl were known there since the middle Bronze Age (Dupljaja, Vojvodina, Serbia).

The Lusatian chariot from Burg (Brandenburg, Germany) has three wheels on a single axle, on which waterfowl perch. The grave of Gammertingen (Kr. Sigmaringen, Germany) contained two socketed horned applications that probably belonged to a miniature wagon comparable to the Burg example, together with six miniature spoked wheels.

Hoards

GBM - Urnenfelder 1a Rasiermesser
Crescent shaped Urnfield culture razor
PreistoHan - colier or 01
Gold necklace from Han-sur-Lesse in Belgium, 1000-900 BC

Hoards are very common in the Urnfield culture. The custom is abandoned at the end of the Bronze Age. They were often deposited in rivers and wet places like swamps. As these spots were often quite inaccessible, they most probably represent gifts to the gods. Other hoards contain either broken or miscast objects that were probably intended for reuse by bronze smiths. As Late Urnfield hoards often contain the same range of objects as earlier graves, some scholars interpret hoarding as a way to supply personal equipment for the hereafter. In the river Trieux, Côtes du Nord, complete swords were found together with numerous antlers of red deer that may have had a religious significance as well.

Iron

An iron ring from Vorwohlde (Kr. Grafschaft Diepholz, Germany) dating to the 15th century BC is the earliest evidence of iron in Central Europe. During the late Bronze Age, Iron was used to decorate the hilts of swords (Schwäbisch-Hall-Gailenkirchen, Unterkrumbach, Kr. Hersbruck) and knives (Dotternhausen, Plettenberg, Germany) and pins. The use of iron for weapons and domestic items in Europe only started in the following Hallstatt culture. The widespread use of iron for tools only occurred in the late Iron Age La Tène culture.

Economy

Cattle, pigs, sheep and goats were kept, as well as horses, dogs and geese. The cattle were rather small, with a height of 1.20 m at the withers. Horses were not much bigger with a mean of 1.25 m.

Forest clearance was intensive in the Urnfield period. Probably open meadows were created for the first time, as shown by pollen analysis. This led to increased erosion and sediment-load of the rivers.

Wheat and barley were cultivated, together with pulses and the horse bean. Poppy seeds were used for oil or as a drug. Millet and oats were cultivated for the first time in Hungary and Bohemia, rye was already cultivated, further west it was only a noxious weed. Flax seems to have been of reduced importance, maybe because mainly wool was used for clothes. Hazel nuts, apples, pears, sloes and acorns were collected. Some rich graves contain bronze sieves that have been interpreted as wine-sieves (Hart an der Alz). This beverage would have been imported from the South, but supporting evidence is lacking. In the lacustrine settlement of Zug, remains of a broth made of spelt and millet have been found. In the lower-Rhine urnfields, leavened bread was often placed on the pyre and burnt fragments have thus been preserved.

Wool was spun (finds of spindle whorls are common) and woven on the warp-weighted loom; bronze needles (Unteruhldingen) were used for sewing.

There is some suggestion that the Urnfield culture is associated with a wetter climatic period than the earlier Tumulus cultures. This may be associated with the diversion of the mid-latitude winter storms north of the Pyrenees and the Alps, possibly associated with drier conditions in the Mediterranean basin.

Urnfield numerals

Various large hoards of sickles have been excavated across central Europe, which feature a range of cast markings that have been interpreted in different ways. An analysis of the Frankleben hoard from central Germany found that markings on the sickles constituted a numeral system related to the lunar calendar. According to the Halle State Museum of Prehistory:

“Many sickles carry line-shaped markings. The scope and order of these brands follows a defined pattern. This sign language can be interpreted as a pre-form of a writing system. There are two types of symbols: line-shaped marks below the button and marks at the angle or at the base of the sickle body. The archaeologist Christoph Sommerfeld examined the rules and realized that the casting marks are composed of one to nine ribs. After four left-hand, individually counted strokes there follows a bundle as a group of five on the right side. This creates a counting system that reaches to 29. The Synodic Moon orbit lasts 29 days or nights. This number and the lunar shape of the sickle suggest that the stroke groups should be interpreted as calendar pages, as a point in the monthly cycle. The sickle marks are the oldest known sign system in Central Europe.”[10]

Gold Hats

Four elaborate cone-shaped hats made from thin sheets of gold have been found in Germany and France, dated to 1200-800 BC. It's thought that they may have been worn as ceremonial hats by ‘king-priests’ or oracles.[11]

The gold cones are covered in bands of ornaments along their whole length and extent. The ornaments - mostly disks and concentric circles, sometimes wheels, crescents, pointed oval shapes and triangles - were punched using stamps, rolls or combs. Analysis of the Berlin Gold Hat has demonstrated that its ornaments form systematic patterns which represent the Metonic cycle of a lunisolar calendar. According to the historian Wilfried Menghin:

“The symbols on the hat are a logarithmic table which enables the movements of the sun and the moon to be calculated in advance.”[12]

Berliner Goldhut2

Berlin Gold Hat, Neues museum

Berlin Gold hat calendar

Calendrical function of the Berlin Gold Hat

EzelsdorfBuch Golden Hat schematic

The Gold Hat of Ezelsdorf-Buch. Schematic depiction of ornamention and stamps

Schifferstadt Golden Hat schematic

The Golden Hat of Schifferstadt. Schematic depiction of ornamention and stamps.

Funerary customs

Lahnberge Hügelgrab 03
Excavated tumulus at Marburg.
Urnfield culture 002
An urn for the ashes and dishes for grave offerings.
Urnfield burial
Typical burial of cremation urn.

Graves

In the tumulus-period, multiple inhumations under barrows were common, at least for the upper levels of society. In the Urnfield period, inhumation and burial in single flat graves prevails, though some barrows exist.

In the earliest phases of the Urnfield period, man-shaped graves were dug, sometimes provided with a stone lined floor, in which the cremated remains of the deceased were spread. Only later, burial in urns became prevalent. Some scholars speculate that this may have marked a fundamental shift in people's beliefs or myths about life and the afterlife.

The size of the urnfields is variable. In Bavaria, they can contain hundreds of burials, while the largest cemetery in Baden-Württemberg in Dautmergen has only 30 graves. The dead were placed on pyres, covered in their personal jewellery, which often shows traces of the fire and sometimes food-offerings. The cremated bone-remains are much larger than in the Roman period, which indicates that less wood was used. Often, the bones have been incompletely collected. Most urnfields are abandoned with the end of the Bronze Age, only the Lower Rhine urnfields continue in use in the early Iron Age (Ha C, sometimes even D).

The cremated bones could be placed in simple pits. Sometimes the dense concentration of the bones indicates a container of organic material, sometimes the bones were simply shattered.

If the bones were placed in urns, these were often covered by a shallow bowl or a stone. In a special type of burial (bell-graves) the urns are completely covered by an inverted larger vessel. As graves rarely overlap, they may have been marked by wooden posts or stones. Stone-pacing graves are typical of the Unstrut group.

Grave gifts

The urn containing the cremated bones is often accompanied by other, smaller ceramic vessels, like bowls and cups. They may have contained food. The urn is often placed in the centre of the assemblage. Often, these vessels have not been placed on the pyre. Metal grave gifts include razors, weapons that often have been deliberately destroyed (bent or broken), bracelets, pendants and pins. Metal grave gifts become rarer towards the end of the Urnfield culture, while the number of hoards increase. Burnt animal bones are often found, they may have been placed on the pyre as food. The marten bones in the grave of Seddin may have belonged to a garment (pelt). Amber or glass beads (Pfahlbautönnchen) are luxury items.

Upper-class graves

Upper-class burials were placed in wooden chambers, rarely stone cists or chambers with a stone-paved floor and covered with a barrow or cairn. The graves contain especially finely made pottery, animal bones, usually pork, sometimes gold rings or sheets, in exceptional cases miniature wagons. Some of these rich burials contain the remains of more than one person. In this case, women and children are normally seen as sacrifices. Until more is known about the status distribution and the social structure of the late Bronze Age, this interpretation should be viewed with caution, however. Towards the end of the Urnfield period, some bodies were burnt in situ and then covered by a barrow, reminiscent of the burial of Patroclus as described by Homer and the burial of Beowulf (with the additional ship burial element). In the early Iron Age, inhumation became the rule again.

Cult

The Kyffhäuser caves in Thuringia contain headless skeletons and split human and animal bones that have been interpreted as sacrifices. Other deposits include grain, knotted vegetable fibres and hair and bronze objects (axes, pendants and pins). The Ith-caves (Lower Saxony) have yielded comparative material.

In the Knovíz-culture, human bones with cut-marks and traces of burning have been found in settlement pits. Moon-shaped clay fire dogs are thought to have a religious significance, as well as crescent shaped razors.

An obsession with waterbirds is indicated by numerous pictures and three-dimensional representations. Combined with the hoards deposited in rivers and swamps, it indicates religious beliefs connected with water. This has led some scholars to believe in serious droughts during the late Bronze Age. Sometimes the water-birds are combined with circles, the so-called sun-barque-motif.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Chadwick and Corcoran, Nora and J.X.W.P. (1970). The Celts. Penguin Books. pp. 28–29.
  2. ^ a b c d Kruta, Venceslas (1991). The Celts. Thames and Hudson. pp. 93–100.
  3. ^ Gimbutas, Marija (1965). Bronze age cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. Mouton Publishers. pp. 274–298.
  4. ^ a b c Stifter, David (2008). Old Celtic Languages (PDF). p. 24.
  5. ^ Chadwick with Corcoran, Nora with J.X.W.P. (1970). The Celts. Penguin Books. pp. 28–33.
  6. ^ Cremin, Aedeen (1992). The Celts in Europe. Sydney, Australia: Sydney Series in Celtic Studies 2, Centre for Celtic Studies, University of Sydney. pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-86758-624-9.
  7. ^ a b Koch, John T. (2013). Celtic from the West 2 - Prologue: The Earliest Hallstatt Iron Age cannot equal Proto-Celtic. Oxford: Oxbow Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-1-84217-529-3.
  8. ^ Drews. R (1993) "The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe Ca. 1200 B.C." Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-04811-8
  9. ^ "Bronze Age cultures in Central and Eastern Europe". google.dk.
  10. ^ "Sickle Hoards" Halle State Museum of Prehistory
  11. ^ 'Mysterious gold cones hats of ancient wizards' The Telegraph, 2002
  12. ^ 'Mysterious gold cones hats of ancient wizards' The Telegraph, 2002

Bibliography

  • J. M. Coles/A. F. Harding, The Bronze Age in Europe (London 1979).
  • G. Weber, Händler, Kieger, Bronzegießer (Kassel 1992).
  • Ute Seidel, Bronzezeit. Württembergisches Landesmuseum Stuttgart (Stuttgart 1995).
  • Konrad Jażdżewski, Urgeschichte Mitteleuropas (Wrocław 1984)
  • Association Abbaye de Daoulas (eds.), Avant les Celtes. L'Europe a l'age du Bronze (Daoulas 1988).
  • Frans Theuws, Nico Roymans (eds.), Land and ancestors: cultural dynamics in the Urnfield period and the Middle Ages in the southern Netherlands, Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, Amsterdam University Press, 1999, ISBN 978-90-5356-278-9.

External links

Media related to Urnfield culture at Wikimedia Commons

10th century BC

The 10th century BC comprises the years from 1000 BC to 901 BC. This period followed the Late Bronze Age collapse in the Near East, and the century saw the Early Iron Age take hold there. The Greek Dark Ages which had come about in 1200 BC continued. The Neo-Assyrian Empire is established towards the end of the 10th century BC. In the Iron Age in India, the Vedic period is ongoing. In China, the Zhou dynasty is in power. Bronze Age Europe continued with Urnfield culture. Japan was inhabited by an evolving hunter-gatherer society during the Jōmon period.

Bronze Age Europe

The European Bronze Age is characterized by bronze artifacts and the use of bronze implements. The regional Bronze Age succeeds the Neolithic. It starts with the Aegean Bronze Age in 3200 BC

(succeeded by the Beaker culture), and spans the entire 2nd millennium BC (Unetice culture, Tumulus culture, Terramare culture, Urnfield culture and Lusatian culture) in Northern Europe, lasting until c. 600 BC.

Drulovka

Drulovka (pronounced [ˈdɾuːlɔu̯ka]; in older sources also Druljevek, German: Drulouk) is a former settlement in the Municipality of Kranj in the Upper Carniola region of Slovenia. It now corresponds to the neighborhood of Drulovka in Kranj.

Ewart Park Phase

The Ewart Park Phase refers to a period of the later Bronze Age Britain.

It is named after a founder's hoard discovered in Ewart Park in Northumberland and is the twelfth in a sequence of industrial stages that cover the period 3000 BC to 600 BC.

The Ewart Park phase dates from 800 to 700 BC, preceded by the Wilburton complex in the south and the Wallington complex and Poldar phase in the north. There are several regional sub groups including the Carp's Tongue complex in the south east, the Llantwit-Stogursey tradition in south Wales, the Broadward complex in the Welsh Marches, the Heathery Burn tradition in the north and the Scottish Duddington, Covesea, and Ballimore traditions. The Irish parallel is the Dowris Phase.

Alloying metal with lead became a common practice during the period and numerous hoards date to this period. In common with the continental Hallstatt culture, horse harnesses and vehicle fittings were developed and links with the late Urnfield Culture and Hallstatt early C are apparent.

Recently, the Ewart Park Phase, and related Atlantic phases, have come to be seen as the probable point of origin of some developments in metalwork, that then spread widely across inland continental Europe. This reverses the previously assumed direction of travel. The types concerned include swords, winged chapes and buckets.

Golden hat

Golden hats (or Gold hats) (German: Goldhüte, singular: Goldhut) are a very specific and rare type of archaeological artifact from Bronze Age Europe. So far, four such objects ("cone-shaped gold hats of the Schifferstadt type") are known. The objects are made of thin sheet gold and were attached externally to long conical and brimmed headdresses which were probably made of some organic material and served to stabilise the external gold leaf. The following Golden Hats are known as of 2012:

Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, found in 1835 at Schifferstadt near Speyer, c. 1400–1300 BC.

Avanton Gold Cone, incomplete, found at Avanton near Poitiers in 1844, c. 1000–900 BC.

Golden Cone of Ezelsdorf-Buch, found near Ezelsdorf near Nuremberg in 1953, c. 1000–900 BC; the tallest known specimen at c. 90 cm.

Berlin Gold Hat, found probably in Swabia or Switzerland, c. 1000–800 BC; acquired by the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Berlin, in 1996.

Gáva-Holigrady culture

The Gáva-Holigrady culture was a late bronze age culture of Eastern Slovakia, Western Ukraine (Zakarpats'ka Oblast and Dnister river basin), Northwestern Romania and Northeastern Hungary.

It is considered a subtype of the Urnfield culture.

Gava-Holigrady culture is named after an archaeological settlement Gava in Northeastern Hungary and an archaeological site Holigrady (Голігради) in Ukrainian Ternopil Oblast.

In Slovakia, the culture has originated in the early twentieth century BC.

Gáva people lived in settlements and castles that they built in the Slovakian and Transylvanian uplands.

Gava-Holigrad people considered to be of Thracian ethnicity.

Knovíz culture

The Knovíz culture was a bronze age culture, part of the Urnfield culture. It is named after the Czech village of the same name.

Lichtenstein Cave

The Lichtenstein Cave, discovered in 1972, is an archaeological cave site near Dorste, Lower Saxony, Germany with a length of 115 m (377 ft). The skeletal remains of 21 female humans and 19 males, dated to the Bronze Age, about 3,000 years ago were discovered. In addition, around 100 bronze objects (ear rings, bracelets, and finger rings) and ceramic parts from the Urnfield Culture were found.

Lower-Rhine Urnfield culture

The Lower-Rhine urnfield culture originated in the area of the Rhine river in the late Bronze Age . It was part of the wider Urnfield culture.

Middle-Danube Urnfield culture

The Middle-Danube Urnfield culture (c. 1300 BC – 800 BC) was a late Bronze Age culture of the middle Danube region.

Milavce culture

The Milavce culture was a Bronze Age culture, part of the Urnfield culture. Its type site is Milavče in the Czech Republic.

Penard Period

The Penard Period is a metalworking phase of the Bronze Age in Britain spanning the period c. 1275 BC to c. 1140 BC.

It is named after the typesite of Penard in West Glamorgan, where a hoard of bronze tools from the period was found in 1827.

The period is characterised by a flowering in experimentation in bronze working, spurred by increased contact with the Urnfield culture of Continental Europe from where early sword and shield imports came.

Chronologically it follows the Taunton Period metalworking phase, and precedes the Wilburton-Wallington Phase. There are links with Reinecke D and early Hallstatt A1 periods, and the French Rosnoën and the Montelius III phases.

Developments included the invention of the cylinder sickle and leaf-shaped pegged spearheads, mirroring an increase in the use of sheet bronze. Clay moulds and new lead-rich alloys were also employed.

Piliny culture

The Piliny culture was a Bronze Age culture in northern Hungary and Slovakia that existed from about 1300 to 700 B.C. It was part of the urnfield culture.

Proto-Villanovan culture

The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late Bronze Age culture that appeared in Italy in the first half of the 12th century BC and lasted until the 10th century BC, part of the central European Urnfield culture system.

Proto-writing

Proto-writing consists of visible marks communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC. They used ideographic or early mnemonic symbols or both to represent a limited number of concepts, in contrast to true writing systems, which record the language of the writer.

Sorothaptic language

Sorothaptic (Spanish: sorotáptico, Catalan: sorotàptic, from Greek σορός sorós 'funerary urn' and θαπτός thaptós 'buried') is a name coined by Catalan scholar Joan Coromines for the hypothetical language of the presumably Indo-European, but pre-Celtic, 1000 BC people of the Urnfield culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

Coromines used the concept of Sorothaptic to explain problematic words in the Iberian Romance languages. He identified the language with inscriptions on lead tablets, ca. 2nd century CE, found at Amélie-les-Bains on the Catalan–French border; these include some Latin but also a non-Latin and non-Celtic component that Coromines believed to be Sorothaptic.

South-German Urnfield culture

The South-German Urnfield culture developed in the regions of Southern Germany in the Bronze Age. The culture existed as early as 1000 B.C.E. The culture made Late Bronze Age pottery, including storage pots with "bulging body, more or less everted rim, and constricted neck". It was a largely male-dominated warrior culture.

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).

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 are shown in the table below. 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. Archaeological 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 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, with 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).

Villanovan culture

The Villanovan culture (c. 900 BC – 700 BC), regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization, was the earliest Iron Age culture of Central Italy and Northern Italy, abruptly following the Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture and giving way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders and colonists who settled in South Italy.

The Villanovan culture and people branched from the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. The Villanovans introduced iron-working to the Italian Peninsula, and they practiced cremation and buried the ashes of their dead in pottery urns of distinctive double-cone shape.

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.